The British prime minister has met with the Queen to formally dissolve parliament ahead of June’s snap election.
It marks the official start of campaigning, and Theresa May wasted no time in making a plea for voters to give her Conservative party a large majority in parliament in order to strengthen her hand in divorce talks with Brussels.
The UK prime minister has promised EU officials that she will be a “bloody difficult woman” in Brexit negotiations.
Her statement comes after being criticised for underestimating the complexity of the Brexit talks and having “illusions” over a deal.
After meeting the Queen, May told reporters outside 10 Downing Street:
“In the last few days we have seen just how tough these talks are likely to be. Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press, the European Commission’s negotiating stance has hardened, threats against Britain have been issued by European politicians and officials,” she said.
“All of these acts have been deliberately timed to affect the result of the general election.”
Recent ICM poll puts May 19 points ahead of the opposition Labour party, a slight dent in the previous 21 point lead, but still a solid showing.