Listen to this article
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
Just under a year after they voted to leave the EU, British voters will go to the polls again. Theresa May has called a snap general election for June 8, less than a month after she categorically denied the possibility of calling a vote, arguing it would be a distraction from talks to leave the EU. The poll will give Mrs May an opportunity to win a direct mandate for the first time to be prime minister. She took power last July without a public vote after David Cameron resigned.
The latest polling data shows that if the election was held now, the conservatives would have a 21-point lead, with 44 per cent of the vote, compared with Labour’s 23 per cent. The UK pound, which took a sharp turn lower ahead of Mrs May’s announcement, swung back to hit a 10-week high against the dollar. (BBC, FT, YouGov)
In the news
Erdogan tightens grip Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan extended a state of emergency after his narrow referendum victory, which exposed the polarisation of Turkish society. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Mr Erdogan to open dialogue with his critics, as election observers said the referendum did not meet the Council of Europe’s standards. Donald Trump had no such qualms and was one of the few western leaders to congratulate Mr Erdogan by phone. (FT)
Pence reassures Japan “The era of strategic patience is over”, US vice-president Mike Pence told Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in an effort to reassure the Japanese leader that Washington was committed to reining in North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. The issue is threatening to turn into a “Cuban missile crisis in slow motion”, and despite his rhetoric Donald Trump has few options to respond to North Korean provocation. There are fears that a miscalculation could push the crisis into conflict. (NAR, NYT, Reuters, FT)
Slow reaction hits Facebook The social network, which is under pressure to show it can police its nearly 2bn users, is under fire for taking almost two hours to take down the account of someone who appeared to commit murder on the site. The suspect is still being hunted in five US states. (FT, BBC)
US tax reform delays US Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin says he expects Donald Trump’s tax reforms to face delays in Congress in part due to the failure to push through healthcare reforms. Doubts over the administration’s timeline for stimulative economic policies are already hitting markets.
UN opens Holocaust files The once-inaccessible archive of the UN war crimes commission, dating back to 1943, is being opened by the Wiener Library in London. The archive, used in prosecution of Nazis, details evidence of death camps previously unseen by the public and could “rewrite crucial chapters of history”. (Guardian)
It’s a big day for
US economy Data are expected to show the market for new homes cooled in March, which may assuage US regulators’ concerns about a post-crisis construction surge. (FT)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
Food for thought
Laying claim to de Gaulle Charles de Gaulle may have left French politics under a cloud more than 50 years ago, but his legacy is being claimed by politicians across the spectrum in France’s presidential election. (FT)
The EU M&A playbook The EU’s tough competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager, only halfway through her term, has already blocked three big deals while her predecessor only denied four in his entire term. This is how to get Brussels to approve a takeover. (FT)
Slavic strongmen unite Russian president Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko have a lot in common: both are authoritarian, both regret the end of the Soviet Union and both like to be seen doing manly sports. So why do they detest each other? (Politico)
The great Fabergé egg hunt The Russian royal family had their intricate, bejewelled Easter eggs crafted by the House of Fabergé, with one commissioned each year from 1885 until their demise 32 years later. After they were killed, their treasures scattered. The unlikely discovery of one in the US revived interest in whether the remaining seven eggs, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will ever be recovered. (Daily Beast)
The complicated history of the barbecue Why is the barbecue America’s most political food? The tale of a restaurant in South Carolina reveals a tangled, racially tinged history. (New Yorker)
Video of the day
A look at the week ahead A five-minute summary of the main stories the FT is watching this week, including the first leg of the French presidential elections, Unilever's first-quarter revenue numbers, new US economic data and the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington. (FT)
Get alerts on World when a new story is published