Politics, Europe

UK holds EU election amid calls for PM’s resignation

Walls are closing in on Theresa May as senior cabinet member resigns

Ahmet Gurhan Kartal   | 23.05.2019
UK holds EU election amid calls for PM’s resignation


British voters are casting their votes on Thursday to elect the new members of the European Parliament amidst a government crisis, which has sparked over Brexit.

The polls, which would never go ahead in Britain if the U.K. had managed to pass a withdrawal agreement in the parliament within two previous deadlines, will send 73 new British members of the European Parliament to Brussels.

The election came a day after Prime Minister Theresa May received mounting calls to resign since she has revealed a new offer to move on with Brexit.

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom resigned from the government on Wednesday evening protesting the prime minister’s Brexit plans.

Leadsom’s resignation came on a day the British government reached a crisis point on disagreements within the Conservative Party over Theresa May’s premiership as she failed to satisfy most of the MPs with the new Brexit deal she outlined earlier this week.

May gave a statement in the House of Commons about the edited EU Withdrawal Agreement, which she said she would bring to the parliament for a vote after failing to receive support in three previous votes.

However, the new offer from May, which included a possible vote of MPs on a possible referendum on the final Brexit deal and a temporary customs union with the EU until the end of 2020, has not been welcomed by many of her own party members.

The calls for her resignation have been made throughout Wednesday but May told her party’s 1922 Committee -- a Conservative decision making body -- that she would not quit but bring the deal back to the House for a fourth vote.

As the walls are now closing in on May, she is expected to meet the committee and cabinet members on Friday according to party sources.

Leadsom, who was a former Tory leadership candidate in 2016 after the resignation of David Cameron as premier and party leader, said in a Twitter post: "It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the government.”

British voters will elect today 73 MEPs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The newly-founded Brexit Party is expected to win most of the votes and the establishment parties, the Conservative and Labour parties have lost support due to Brexit failure, according to latest opinion polls.

The Netherlands is also holding the election on Thursday.

Approximately 374 million voters will cast their votes across the EU.

Results will be due after all EU nations complete the voting process at 2100 GMT on Sunday, May 26.

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