Theresa May says calling a general election to break Brexit deadlock ‘would not be in the national interest’
Prime Minister says she is not preparing for another contest
Theresa May has denied she is preparing to hold another general election, stating that another vote would “not be in the national interest”.
The Prime Minister is visiting Norway for a meeting with Nordic and Baltic leaders where she is set to discuss Brexit and other matters, such as strained relations with Russia.
Asked about fresh contest to break the Brexit deadlock at a press conference in Oslo with her counterparts from Nordic and Baltic countries, the Prime Minister said:
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“No. We are not preparing for another general election. That would not be in the national interest.”
Some observers believe that the Budget announced by Philip Hammond on Monday resembled a pre-election budget, with accelerated income tax cuts and some other popular measures.
Fresh elections could be tempting because the Prime Minister lacks a majority in the House of Commons, meaning there is a good chance any Brexit deal she negotiates could be voted down.
Though she secured the support of the right-wing DUP with an extra £1 billion for Northern Ireland after the 2017 election, the party has since said it would not vote for an emerging deal that treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK.
But with the Conservatives yet to open up a substantial lead in the polls – and memories of last year’s shock result still fresh – the PM appears yet to be tempted.
The PM was speaking alongside Erna Solberg, the Norwegian prime minister. Ms Solberg warned that plans suggested by some Tories for the UK to joint the European Economic Area (EEA) temporarily as a second Brexit transition would be “a little bit difficult" for some members to accept. She however re-stated that Norway was open to the UK becoming a permanent EEA state.
The European Economic Area agreement replicates most of the EU single market, with some exceptions – though it does not include a customs union, meaning border checks are still required on goods passing from the EU.
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