Hague: Early general election would strengthen PM’s hand – BBC News

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Image caption Lord Hague said calling an early election could strengthen the government’s hand

Prime Minister Theresa May should call an early general election, former Tory leader Lord Hague has urged.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said bringing forward the next election could help the UK secure a better deal in Brexit negotiations.

Lord Hague said an early election “would strengthen the government’s hand at home and abroad” but acknowledged an imminent election was unlikely.

The next election is due in May 2020 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Lord Hague advocated repealing the legislation which was brought in by the coalition.

Lord Hague said the government faced “the most complex challenges of modern times”.

These included “Brexit negotiations, the Trump administration, the threat from Scottish nationalists, and many other issues”.

A snap election “would catch the Labour Party in its worst condition since the early 30s, and with its least credible leader ever”.

‘Difficult to stomach’

“There is no doubt that they [the prime minister and cabinet] would be in a stronger position to take the country through these challenges successfully if they had a large and decisive majority in the Commons and a new full term ahead of them,” he said.

He continued: “Any [Brexit] deal is bound to be full of compromises which one group or another in Parliament finds difficult to stomach.

“As British law needs to be amended countless times to take account of leaving the EU treaties, the government could face many close votes, concessions or defeats as it tries to implement Brexit.

“That prospect will embolden the EU negotiators, and makes an agreement that is good for the UK harder to achieve.

“It could also lead to a situation where the prime minister faces a stand-off with Parliament over a deal that will have taken two years to negotiate and is nearly impossible to change.”

Mrs May has warned peers they could “incentivise” the EU to offer the UK a bad Brexit deal if they pass a further amendment to the Article 50 bill.

The House of Lords is expected to vote at about 17:00 GMT on Tuesday on an amendment calling for Westminster to be given a “meaningful” vote on the withdrawal agreement secured by the prime minister during negotiations under Article 50.

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