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The triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on 29 March which officially set the Brexit into motion was supposed to provide greater certainty about the United Kingdom’s upcoming negotiations with the European Union (EU). That certainty quickly evaporated less than a month later when Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap election for 8 June.

From Mrs. May’s perspective, the election result gives her party a chance to strengthen its hand in negotiating an amicable break from the EU. It would also allow for greater unity within British Parliament, which has emerged deeply divided about the Brexit question.

As it currently stands, Mrs. May has a fragile majority of just 17 in the House of Commons. Justifying her decision, the prime minister said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”[1]

Latest election polls show the Conservatives enjoying a comfortable lead ahead of next month’s general election. The Tories are primed to gain a number of seats based on the latest polling data, with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour movement expected to lose large representation in the House.

The UK Independence Party’s popularity has also dipped in the wake of the Brexit  outcome. The party was essential in convincing voters to choose Brexit in the 23 June referendum.

In Ipsos Mori’s April poll for the Evening Standard, 61% of people said Mrs. May would make for the most capable leader. Only 23% said the same for Mr. Corbyn.

Based on the latest poll of polls data, 47.1% of Britons back the Conservatives in the upcoming vote, up from 42.3% a month ago. Although the Labour movement has also made up ground, it trails the Tories by 17 percentage points.[2]

For its part, the UK economy has held up fairly well since the June referendum. Data this week showed a sharp rebound in retail sales, pointing to healthy consumer spending. Total receipts excluding fuel climbed 2% in April, which translated into a year-over-year gain of 4.5%, the Office for National Statistics said. The British pound has since topped the 1.30 mark for the first time in eight months.[3]

The British pound got rocked after the Brexit vote, and is expected to face an extended period of volatility once negotiations get under way. No timetable for Brexit talks have been set.

 

 

[1] Danny Boyle and Jack Maidment (April 18, 2017). “Theresa May announces snap general election on June 8 to ‘make a success of Brexit’.” The Telegraph.

[2] Robin De Peyer (May 18, 2017). “UK General Election polls: Labour gains ground but Tories still enjoy comfortable lead.” Evening Standard.

[3] Tara Cunningham (March 18, 2017). “Pound tops $1.30 for first time in eight months after UK retail sales smash forecasts, as FTSE 100 falls on US political jitters.” The Telegraph.

 

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