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Theresa May’s call for early election ‘cheap opportunism’: Analyst

Dr. Rodney Shakespeare

UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for an early general election was a display of “cheap opportunism” to defeat the Labour Party and win an absolute majority for her government, says a British academic.

Dr. Rodney Shakespeare made the remarks on Wednesday, after the UK Parliament voted in favor of May’s proposal for snap elections a day earlier.

Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 522 to 13 on Wednesday to support the motion put forward by May a day earlier.

The election will be held on June 8, nearly a year after 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the European Union (EU). The current Parliament will dissolve on June 3.

May’s call for an early election came after firm assurances that she would not seek a new election before 2020. She had resisted calls for an early election from within her own party for months.

On Tuesday, she said she would seek a "snap" election less than halfway through her government's five-year term, with the goal of gaining a stronger mandate for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union.

“There is a little more to it than that,” Shakespeare told Press TV. “Opinion polls have been saying that the conservatives have a huge lead over the Labour party, therefore you can view the prime minister’s decision to go for a general election as a piece of cheap opportunism to get an easy victory over the Labour party.”

However, the academic argued that it won’t be an easy win for May because 48 percent of British voters were against Brexit in last June’s EU referendum and they are not likely to change their mind on June 8.

Shakespeare said having a huge majority for a British PM would also be problematic because “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

“That is true of British prime ministers with huge majorities,” he said. “Something around about 30 or 40 [percent] tends to keep them relatively sane and balanced.”

The latest polls predict an easy win for May. The premier has already backed out from televised debates, drawing fire from opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

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