LONDON (Reuters) - A lawmaker from Britain’s opposition Labour Party publicly admitted that the party is not trying to win a snap election that Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May called for June 8.
May is betting that the weakness of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the unexpected resilience of the United Kingdom’s $2.6 trillion economy since last year’s Brexit vote will bolster her majority in the British parliament.
Corbyn, a socialist who has pledged higher taxes on the wealthy and a crackdown on powerful corporations, said on Thursday that he would prove wrong the election experts who predict his party will see a collapse in support.
When asked in an ITV television interview whether Corbyn was a realistic candidate as prime minister, Labour lawmaker Helen Goodman said: “I don’t think that this election is about changing the government.”
When pressed on what the election was about, she said: “This election is about preventing the Tories (Conservatives) from getting such an overwhelming majority that there is no possibility of dissent in this country.”
Under Britain’s winner-takes-all electoral system, the party which wins a majority of the 650 seats in the Westminster parliament forms a government and the party leader is formally appointed prime minister by the queen.
Polling data conducted by The Times newspaper showed May could win a landslide majority of 114 seats, up from 12 won by David Cameron in the 2015 general election.
If May does win so many seats it would be the biggest election victory for a Conservative leader since 1983 when Margaret Thatcher beat Labour’s Michael Foot to win a majority of 144.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden