British Prime Minister Theresa May announced this morning that Britain will hold a general election June 8. This is a reversal of her previous position, but she justified it by arguing that Britain would not be wise to negotiate terms for Brexit — withdrawal from the European Union, as determined by the 52 to 48 percent margin for Leave in the referendum last June 23 — with the government holding such a narrow majority (Conservatives hold 330 seats in the 650-member House of Commons).
In the past, prime ministers have had the prerogative of calling elections at any time, but the Five Year Act passed at the beginning of the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government in 2010 requires a two-thirds margin in the House of Commons to approve an election ahead of schedule. But that is guaranteed because the leaders of the Labour party (230 members) and the Liberal Democrats (8 members) have said they will agree.
Polling currently shows Conservatives with a huge lead over Labour, 45 percent to 23 percent in popular votes — far ahead of the 37 percent to 31 percent popular vote lead that gave Conservatives a narrow (and surprising) majority in the May 2015 general election. Projections from those numbers would give Conservatives a 410-151 margin over Labour, larger than any achieved under Margaret Thatcher or any other since 1935 the Conservative-led National government won a 429-154 margin over the opposition.
Labour is stuck with a far-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, elected in September 2015 by some 300,000 Britons who paid 3 pounds (!) for party memberships. He was repudiated in June 2016 by a 172-40 (!) vote of no confidence by Labour members of Parliament. It appears that Labour under Corbyn will win less than half as many seats as the 355 to 418 it won in three general elections under Tony Blair not so long ago, in 1997, 2001 and 2005.