Theresa May kunne sittet til 2020, men vil ha et klart mandat fra velgerne i ryggen før hun går til forhandlinger med EU. Det er et dristig trekk. Foto: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters/Scanpix

Theresa May varslet overraskende nyvalg i Storbritannia 8. juni. Hensikten er å gi ryggdekning i Brexit-forhandlingene.

Kunngjøringen kom uventet. May kunne sittet til 2020.

.. at five past 11, the Prime Minister emerged. Instant silence. Reaching her lectern, she looked from side to side, took a breath, and then began.

“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet,” she intoned, “where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.”

May åpnet rolig, men da hun kom inn på begrunnelsen for nyvalget, sank temperaturen 20 grader, skriver Telegraph. May er fed up med splittelse og undergraving. Hun vil ha et klart mandat fra velgerne. Men dermed kom utfordringen også til å bli rettet mot velgerne. Hvordan vil de reagere?

It was all, she made clear, about Brexit – and the difference between its success, and its failure. “At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster,” she glowered. “But instead there is division. The country is coming together. But Westminster is not.”

Her eyes glittered like ice. No longer was she merely announcing an election. She was launching a coldly furious political attack.

Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, “unelected Lords” – all of them, growled Mrs May, were hampering the chances of a successful Brexit. They could “grind the business of government to a standstill”, “jeopardise the work we must do”, “weaken the Government’s negotiating position”. They could even (she did not specify how) “endanger the security of millions of working people”. As a result, an election was essential.

Hvis May ikke får det mandatet hun ber om, kan britisk politikk bli kaotisk: Labour er a mess, og i Skottland leker Nicola Sturgeon med trusler om utmeldelse av united kingdom.

Indeed, more than that: a thumping Conservative win was essential. Essential to prevent rival parties foiling Brexit. Essential to strengthen Mrs May’s hand in her negotiations with the EU. Essential to “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit”.

May spiller høyt.