April 18, 2017 / 10:27 AM / in 3 months

May calls for an early election to strengthen Brexit hand

2 Min Read

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain April 18, 2017.Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May called on Tuesday for an election on June 8, saying Britain's opposition parties risked worsening her negotiating hand in divorce talks with the European Union by opposing her Brexit plan.

"It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond," she said on the doorstep of her Downing Street office.

May, who was appointed prime minister after the country voted in favour of Brexit in June last year, enjoys a large lead in the opinion polls, with 50 percent saying she would be the best prime minister. The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, won 14 percent, pollster YouGov said.

But she must first win the support of two-thirds of the parliament for her call for an early election. The main opposition Labour Party has said it is ready for a new election.

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Kate Holton

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