LONDON—British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday said she would call an early general election on June 8 in a move that if she wins could give her more leeway in upcoming negotiations with the European Union.
Mrs. May, who took office in July after the U.K. voted to leave the EU, has a parliamentary majority of 17.
Opinion polls suggest she would increase that majority significantly in an election. That would give her more freedom of maneuver in EU negotiations and make her less dependent on the support of the euroskeptics of her Conservative Party who favor a clean break with EU.
An election is unlikely to hold up negotiations over Britain’s exit because they aren’t scheduled to start until the 27 remaining EU countries finalize their negotiating positions, which won’t be for several weeks.
The British pound rose in volatile trade after Mrs. May’s surprise announcement, up 0.6% at $1.264 against the dollar after falling ahead of the announcement.
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