The FT's Robert Shrimsley, Miranda Green and Janan Ganesh discuss why UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election on June 8 and what that means for the Brexit negotiations.
Produced by Filip Fortuna and Jill Wrenn. Filmed by Rod Fitzgerald.
The opinion polls are so hugely in the conservatives favour right now that this opportunity to hold an election and win a landslide probably won't come again. She's on 44% in the polls, in the voting intention polls, and the labour party down at 23. Lib Dems slightly resurgent at 12, but not too much to worry here there. And UKIP is in a very weak position, as well. So it's an incredible moment to secure a definitive mandate for her Brexit plan and to see off everyone else.
Miranda's clearly completely right. There is only one reason why prime minister calls an election mid-term, only one reason, whatever they say, and that is because they think they're going to win well. This is the only reason why prime minister ever does it. And that's why Theresa May has done it.
Now you can add in other factors. She can say, I have delivered on the people's will by triggering Article 50. Brexit is now happening. I did what you asked me to do. Now I need your mandate for negotiations.
She's looking at the opinion polls. And labour looks to be enough to melt down total disarray. UKIP, which once were the conservatives, is nowhere. The only thing that I think would worry her are all of those places in remain strongholds, where the Lib Dems already have a foothold, which in-- actually places that encompass I live in, southwest London, where they'll be looking and thinking, you know, those seats look a bit worrying. But otherwise, it's hard to construct a better set of circumstances for a prime minister called in an election.
Getting a political mandate from your domestic audience may strip strengthen her hand in the negotiations with the EU a bit, but not profoundly. The real difference will be when she gets the deal, if she does, and returns to Parliament in two years time to sell the deal. It will be much easier to get one through if she has a considerable majority in parliament, as opposed to 15 or 16. If it's a very bad deal, she'll have a better chance of getting it through, which is perverse news for the people of this country. The chances of a bad deal going through are now higher than they were a few hours ago.