Theresa May has stunned Westminster by demanding a snap general election on 8 June that indicate that she could win a huge Tory majority in Parliament.
She hopes will turn her party’s clear lead in the opinion polls into a healthy parliamentary majority and secure her Conservative vision for Brexit. The prime minister made an unscheduled statement on Tuesday morning from behind a lectern outside 10 Downing Street, in which she recanted her repeated promise not to go to the polls before 2020.
She accused opposition parties of trying to jeopardize her government’s preparations for exiting the EU as she called for what would be a third nationwide poll in three years – while the Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, responded by saying he would welcome the opportunity to fight an election opposing Tory austerity. May said: “We need a general election and we need one now because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”
Some polls have the Tories at almost double the vote share of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, indicating that the most likely outcome of the election would be a landslide victory that would increase her party’s current working majority of 17 in the House of Commons.
Indeed, some experts estimate that the Tories will take as many as 56 seats from Labour, leaving them with a 200-seat lead over the official opposition party.
Political pollsters have taken a beating recently after failing to predict a Conservative majority in 2015, a Leave vote last summer and a Donald Trump victory in November.
For those who have lost faith in polling, there is another way of predicting electoral outcomes: ask people who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is.
Many now believe that political betting markets can better predict elections, relying on the wisdom of a crowd of punters to sort and weigh all the probabilities.