In the latest twist in the Brexit saga, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called for an early general election on June 8, ahead of the election that had previously been scheduled for 2020.
According to the BBC, May had explained the decision by citing opposition to her plans on Brexit, with the UK’s Labour party threatening to vote against the final plan.
"If we don't hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election," May told the BBC.
According to The Guardian, the UK’s Liberal Democrat party is hoping to use the election to gain more seats in Parliament and push for closer relations with the European Union as part of the final Brexit agreement.
“If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit, if you want to keep Britain in the single market, if you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance,” Lib Dem leader Tim Farron told The Guardian.
According to an analysis in the Washington Post, critics in the UK have worried that a hard Brexit could harm the country’s trade with Europe, and would also impact the estimated 3 million EU citizens living and working in the UK.
What will the vote mean for travel? Thus far, the biggest impact of last summer’s vote to leave the EU has been the fall in the value of the pound, which has boosted visitation to the country as U.S. travelers moved to take advantage of comparatively lower prices. In fact, London set a new overnight visitation record last year, with 56 million overnight stays.
Additionally, major destinations like London are planning to continue to market themselves in conjunction with other European destinations following the end of the Brexit negotiations, which could take up to two years. London recently signed an agreement with Paris to jointly showcase the two cities to overseas visitors, marking the first such collaboration for the two destinations. That project will launch in 2018.
There will be a vote in the House of Commons Wednesday to approve the new election.