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Lord Hague: Theresa May should call snap election

Lord Hague pictured with Theresa May in 2015. Credit: PA

Former Tory leader Lord Hague has urged Theresa May to hold an early general election as he warned "trouble is coming" in 2019.

The peer said there was "no doubt" Mrs May would have a better chance of making Brexit a success with a "decisive" majority in the Commons.

He said European negotiators will be "conscious" that the government is "not in a strong position" which will "allow them to adopt a harder stance than otherwise".

And he warned that the prospect of the government facing many close votes, concessions or defeats as it tries to implement Brexit would "embolden the EU negotiators".

  • 'Complex challenges'
Theresa May, pictured with European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, faces tough negotiations ahead. Credit: AP

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Lord Hague said: "We have a new Prime Minister and Cabinet facing the most complex challenges of modern times: Brexit negotiations, the Trump administration, the threat from Scottish nationalists, and many other issues.

"There is no doubt that they would be in a stronger position to take the country through these challenges successfully if they had a large and decisive majority in the Commons and a new full term ahead of them."

The peer admitted that a snap election is "not on the cards" due to the Fixed-term Parliaments Acts, but suggested it could be repealed "if Conservative MPs were determined and disciplined about doing it".

The measure was introduced in 2010 at the insistence of the Liberal Democrats, who feared the Conservatives could "pull the rug from under them" should they garner more popularity following the coalition deal.

  • 'Times have changed'
David Cameron and Nick Clegg entered into a coalition government in 2010. Credit: PA

Lord Hague said the change was "a response to the needs of the time" and the current circumstances are "very different", as he argued the case for a general election this spring would be "very strong indeed" if the Fixed-term Parliaments Act were not in force.

He suggested a Bill to repeal the Act could be introduced this year and be law by "late 2018.

And the peer was adamant that the Tories would have a "very good chance of securing an outcome" if a general election was held before 2020.

  • 'Least credible Labour leader ever'
William Hague said Jeremy Corbyn was Labour's least credible leader ever. Credit: PA

He continued: "An election now would follow the rare experience of a by-election gain for the government and would catch the Labour Party in its worst condition since the Thirties, and with its least credible leader ever.

"But it is difficult to call an election, assuming that Labour turkeys are unlikely to vote for a very early and particularly juicy Christmas."

The Lords is expected to vote at around 5pm on Tuesday on an amendment calling for Westminster to be given a "meaningful" vote on the withdrawal agreement secured by the PM during negotiations under Article 50 of the EU treaties.

Mrs May has promised Parliament a vote, but only on a "take it or leave it" basis, which would see the UK crash out of the EU without a deal if MPs reject the agreement she obtains.