UK Politics

Election 2017: How press reacted to Theresa May's shock announcement

Theresa May making an announcement to media Image copyright PA

Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement of a snap general election on 8 June took the press by surprise. Here's how the media reacted.

The Times' David Aaronovitch says Mrs May's decision makes sense but an election "won't solve much".

"For Labour 2017 is now an existential year. It either refounds itself or it faces extinction.

"For the Tories there is likely to be a massive victory based on an almost heroic lack of enthusiasm from the electorate.

"And the election answers no questions about our economic or social future - the great Brexit Conundrum will still exist to be solved."

The Telegraph's Asa Bennett argues that a snap election will give Mrs May the "ultimate mandate for Brexit".

"The months of double-digit poll leads, culminating in three polls over the weekend suggesting the Conservatives were more than 20 points ahead of Labour, clearly had something to do with this," he writes.

"Last June, the British people had to consider whether they wanted Britain to leave or remain in the European Union. Nearly a year later after voting for Britain to depart, they will have to vote on who they want to manage that process."

'Political chancer'

The Guardian's Anne Perkins believes Theresa May is likely to win a "thumping majority", but she claims this will leave Mrs May with "no obligation on her to reflect the views of the minority position".

"She will leave the Remainers of England disempowered.

"She has made a Scottish referendum inevitable, and a border poll in Northern Ireland infinitely more likely. She is resetting politics in a way that will entrench division. We will all rue this day."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire said Mrs May was seeking to "hammer" Jeremy Corbyn's Labour

The Daily Mirror's Kevin Maguire thinks Mrs May's real reason for calling an election are to "hammer" Labour and any other reasons are "just spin".

"Naked Tory advantage by a party political chancer who should never again be trusted. Theresa May can try to dress up any way she likes the early general election this prime minister vowed never to seek but the motivation is Conservative advantage.

"Party will be put before country on 8 June and every invented Downing Street justification is spin."

'Potential for disaster'

The New Statesman's Stephen Bush says the pattern of polls and recent by-elections suggests Mrs May will win a big majority, but there is still "potential for disaster".

He wrote: "People tend to resent "snap" elections and turnout may drop.

"As the Remain coalition tends to vote more frequently than any other, a low poll - say 60% - could advantage the Liberal Democrats."

For the Spectator's James Kirkup the election "should kill stone dead any Remainer dream that Brexit can be stopped".

He adds: "The Lib Dems will very likely do well in the election, possibly emerging as the party of the unreconciled metropolitan Remainer vote.

"While Jeremy Corbyn will, surely, be gone by June's end, Tim Farron will be invigorated, leader of a much bigger and more significant Lib Dem party - unless, of course, a certain Nick Clegg makes a comeback as leader."

There has also been international reaction to the news.

The New York Times argues the announcement is a "huge gamble" and will reopen some of the UK's "gravest divisions".

But the Washington Post says the election - and the prospect of an increased majority for Mrs May - could "ease pressure on her during torturous Brexit negotiations over the next two years".