London: Talking tough, UK Prime Minister Theresa May today accused European politicians and officials of issuing “threats” to influence the upcoming general election in her country.
May called upon Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and marked the dissolution of the 650-member House of Commons or the lower house.
The British Prime Minister’s strongly-worded statement at the doorstep of her official Downing Street residence in London minutes after her visit to the Palace highlighted the centrality of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) as the main issue in the upcoming polls.
She reiterated her resolve to get a good deal for Britain and make a success of Brexit with her “strong and stable” leadership, as opposed to Opposition Labour party’s “coalition of chaos”.
“Whoever wins on June 8 will face one overriding task: to get the best possible deal for this United Kingdom from Brexit… while there is enormous opportunity for Britain as we leave the European Union, if we do not get this right, the consequences will be serious,” the 60-year-old leader warned.
In reference to recent reports in the German press of a deepening divide between the UK and the EU over Brexit negotiations, she said: “Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press”.
The European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened.
“Threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials. All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election that will take place on June 8.”
She also repeated her firm position of “no deal is better for Britain than a bad deal”.
“But we want a deal. We want a deep and special partnership with the European Union But the events of the last few days have shown that – whatever our wishes, and however reasonable the positions of Europe’s other leaders – there are some in Brussels who do not want these talks to succeed,” she said.
May’s meeting with the 91-year-old monarch marks the formal start of campaigning for the June 8 general election, even though all political parties have already begun canvassing votes around the UK.
“The 2015 Parliament is now at an end, and in 36 days the country will elect a new Government and choose the next Prime Minister. The choice you now face is all about the future,” May noted.
Under UK law, the Parliament must be dissolved at least 25 working days before a general election.
However, Parliament is “prorogued” several days ahead of being dissolved, meaning that all parliamentary business stops but the Parliament still technically exists until dissolution.
After the dissolution, every seat in the House of Commons becomes vacant and members of parliament temporarily lose all privileges associated with their station.
But MPs with ministerial positions continue with their duties until the elections.
The British PM had received Parliament’s backing last month to hold a snap general election on June 8 and is currently leading in most opinion polls to win a majority mandate for her Conservative party, which she believes she needs to carry Brexit negotiations forward.
May’s snap polls took everyone by surprise, including the Queen who will have to “dress-down” for the new UK Parliament opening next month due to shortage of time to rehearse for the event.
The British monarch is responsible for the ceremonial State Opening of Parliament business every year, which involves considerable pomp and ceremony including being dressed up in flowing robes.
However, this time the Queen is expected to wear a day dress and hat for the ceremony instead and not the imperial state crown as she delivers the Queen’s Speech outlining the government s plans for the year ahead on June 19 – the day the new MPs take their seats in the Commons.
The date also means that the Queen has had to cancel the Order of the Garter ceremony when she hands over royal medals at Windsor Castle, for the first time in 30 years.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “To allow her majesty to attend in support of the parliamentary and constitutional process, the Queen’s programme of engagements has been revised”.
“As a result, the annual service for the Order of the Garter, which had been due to take place on 19th June, has been cancelled. Additionally, owing to the revised calendar, the state opening of Parliament will take place with reduced ceremonial elements,” the statement added.