Terror-hit Britain votes in snap polls called by Theresa May

RSTV Bureau

Theresa May in UK ParliamentUnited Kingdom is voting to elect a Prime Minister, just days after the London bridge attack.

The snap polls in UK were called by former Prime Minister Theresa May, and polls say this time too, the odds are in her favour.

May called the election three years earlier than scheduled ahead of what are expected to be tough negotiations with the European Union over Britain’s exit from the 28-member-bloc.

Brexit is expected to be the central factor behind voting patterns.

46 million eligible voters are expected to cast their ballot to choose between Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn. A total of 650 Westminster MPs will be elected.

Polls close at 10 p m UK time, with results expected to begin rolling in within an hour or so after voting finishes.

This is the fourth major UK poll in three years, following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the 2015 general election, and the 2016 Brexit vote.

Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party looks to dent into the Conservatives’ slim majority in the House of Commons. In the campaign, Corbyn focussed on his party’s promise to spend more on health and education.

“Never before has there been a clearer choice between the parties… a choice quite simply between hope and fear,” Corbyn had said while campaigning.

Officially, it takes 326 seats for an overall majority in the House of Commons. In the 2015 general election, then Prime Minister David Cameron led Conservatives had won 331 seats, giving the Tories a small but significant majority, and the Labour party won 232 seats.

May focussed on her central message of the “strong and stable leadership” that she can provide for Britain’s exit negotiations from the European Union (EU).

“Brexit is the basis of everything. We need to secure our economy for the future, we need to ensure we are getting more jobs, better paid jobs, more opportunities for young people in this country. We can do that if we get the Brexit negotiations right,” she had said in one of her final speeches before campaigning ended.

The Liberal Democrats focused on their Remain-voting target seats, while the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) stuck to its central message of ensuring there is no back-tracking on Brexit.

This time UK is voting under the shadow of terror. Two terror attacks rocked the country in the last two weeks.

On Saturday, seven people were killed when three men aboard a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge and went on a stabbing spree before being shot by police.

The first attack took place on May 22 when 22 people were killed and 116 injured in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena.

(With inputs from PTI)