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British opposition parties spoiling for a fight welcome May's snap election call

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By Robert Hackwill
British opposition parties spoiling for a fight welcome May's snap election call

Reactions from opposition party leaders in Britain to the snap election call have been unanimous; bring it on Mrs. May, we are ready for a fight.

The opinion polls might give the opposition no chance at the moment, but in two months time the numbers could look very different.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, sat in second place but far behind the Tories, had this to say.

“I welcome the opportunity for us to put the case to the people of Britain, to stand up against this government and it’s failed economic agenda which has left our NHS in problems, which has left our schools underfunded, which left so many people uncertain. We want to put a case out there to the people of Britain, of a society that cares for all, an economy that cares for all, and a Brexit that works for all,” he said.

London voted to stay in the EU and the city’s mayor, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, is a fierce critic of his leader’s stance on Europe, and much else

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon deplored what she called the party political motives behind the snap vote.

“But it’s very clear that the prime minister’s announcement today is one all about the narrow interests of her own party, not the interests of the country overall. Clearly she sees the opportunity given the total disarray in the ranks of the Labour party to crush all opposition to her, to get rid of people who disagree with her,” she said.

Sturgeon was quick to take Theresa May to task for her offices’ announcement she would be giving few press conferences and would not be doing face-to-face debates during the election. May has a well-publicised horror of such public events

The Liberal Democrats are the only pro-European English-based major party, and their leader also welcomed the chance for change.

“Well, it’s an opportunity for the people of this country to change the direction of this country, to decide they do not want a hard Brexit, they want to keep Britain in the single market, and indeed, it’s an opportunity for us to have a decent strong opposition in this country, that we desperately need”

Tim Barron’s Liberal Democrats are likely to pick up a huge number of votes but as in the past with Britain’s electoral system where the winner takes all in each seat, they will be wasted in scores of second-place near-misses

One notable reaction has been commentators’ noting May’s refusal seven times to consider an early vote after becoming the Conservatives’ leader, and wondering what it has taken to change her mind.