WATCH: Theresa May says she decided on early election when on holiday in Wales

Posted On: 
18th April 2017

Theresa May has revealed she decided to call an early general election when she was on a walking holiday in Wales. 

Theresa May and her husband Philip walking in Switzerland
Credit: 
Marco Bertorello/PA Wire

The Prime Minister’s shock announcement runs against her previous assurances that she would not seek a renewed mandate before the planned 2020 election.

In her statement outside No 10, Mrs May said she came to the decision “recently and reluctantly” as a result of the challenges to the Government’s Brexit plans from opposition parties and the House of Lords.

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Speaking to ITV later, she said her mind was made up last week, when she was on holiday with her husband Philip.

“As we were going through the Article 50 process, the opposition, the attempts, potential attempts to jeopardise or frustrate the process in the future became clearer,” she said.  

“Then before Easter I spent a few days walking in Wales with my husband, thought about this long and hard and came to this decision to that to provide that stability and certainty for the future, that this was the way to do it: have an election.”

The Government lost two votes in the House of Lords when it tried to pass its Article 50 legislation but, after the Commons overruled peers, the bill ultimately went through unchanged.

Mrs May will bring forward a motion to the House of Commons tomorrow for an election on 8 June.

The support of two-thirds of MPs is needed for it to pass but, with Labour set to back it, the second general election in two years is likely to be set.

Brexit Secretary David Davis said opposition parties had been “jumping on every little difficulty” throughout the Brexit process so far.

"What our prime aim here is to deliver last year’s result in the best possible interest of the country, not the 52% but the 100%,” he told Radio 4’s World at One.

“Everybody in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and to do that we need a strong, new mandate to deliver that. Not just that we’re going to leave, but how we’re going to leave.”