Ed Balls: May has now made it very hard to call a General Election

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It’s proving to be quite the year for politics in the United Kingdom, and last week the High Court ruled that the Government must consult Parliament before proceeding to exit the European Union. For former Labour MP Ed Balls, this didn’t come as a surprise.

Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes News at the Ladbrokes US Presidential Debate, Balls shared his thoughts on the current state of politics in the United Kingdom…

The EU

“I never really understood how the Government could have thought that they could not go through a Parliamentary process,” the former Shadow Chancellor said.

“There was always going to be a way in which Parliament was required to have a say and now it seems the courts have confirmed that.”

“I think Theresa May will still need to stick to the timetable she set out and that means she still wants to move ahead in the spring. But it was always the case that Parliament was going to be involved,” Balls added.

“But if she says the spring, and that’s her plan then that means an exit in two years so it’s ambitious and it’s quite difficult but that’s the plan she’s made and she’ll have to stick with that.”

The bookies make it 1/2 that Article 50 is triggered in 2017, with 6/1 on 2018 while it’s 9/4 that it isn’t activated before 2021.

General Election

Last week’s High Court ruling saw the odds shorten to 6/4 on May calling a 2017 General Election, but Balls isn’t too sure if that’s how things will play out next year.

“With a very small majority for Theresa May, and with Theresa May needing to establish her own mandate to go and do this very difficult negotiation with the EU, I thought she would go for an early election.

“There’s a part of me that still thinks she will go for one but at the Conservative party conference she was quite emphatic in ruling that out.

“I think she’s made it quite hard for herself to have one now, it’s not impossible because she can come along and say circumstances have changed.

“But her language that she was going for the full term – she didn’t want to do this – I think it would now be seen as a big U-turn for her personally so I think she’s dug a big hole for herself. If I were her I’d have been a little more careful.

There are important lessons from 2007 where Gordon Brown allowed speculation to roll about the election and he didn’t call that, so there are lessons to be learned from that but I wonder if she’s gone too far the other way.”

Post-Brexit Britain

“We don’t know what post-Brexit Britain might look like, because we don’t really know what Brexit is going to mean.

“I think there is a real possibility that we’ll look back on it as a catastrophic moment but also it may be viewed as a moment which threw politics into a long lasting turmoil.”

“But on the other hand, we might look back and say that it was less significant because of how events develop or because of what Brexit turns out to mean.

“So I don’t know, but it could turn out to be one of those moments like 1846 or 1903 where politics  turns fractious, but we don’t know yet.”

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.