Looking for a strong mandate to take a hard line on Brexit negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap election in the U.K. May is hoping to build on her Conservative Party’s majority to bolster her support. Recent local elections proved strong for the Conservatives and may be a good sign for them headed into the national vote. Jason Douglas and Jenny Gross write for The Wall Street Journal:
The U.K.’s governing Conservative Party made significant gains in local elections, which could herald a big win for Prime Minister Theresa May in a nationwide vote next month.
The contests—for seats on district councils in Scotland, Wales and parts of England in addition to a handful of new city mayoralties—offer a sample of British public opinion almost a yea r after 2016’s Brexit vote and ahead of national elections to form a new Parliament on June 8.
The results suggest British voters are swinging behind Mrs. May as she prepares for talks with the European Union over the terms of Britain’s exit from the 28-member bloc. The Conservatives gained in all areas of the country, including some once considered opposition strongholds, while the small, pro-EU Liberal Democrats failed to turn any lingering anti-Brexit feeling into concrete electoral gains.
Pollsters say Mrs. May appears on course to substantially extend her majority in Parliament next month, a potential victory she says would strengthen her hand in divorce talks that are expected to take two years. In the past week, a series of thorny issues concerning Britain’s departure from the bloc—including the size of a so-called exit bill it might have to pay—have raised tensions on both sides.
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