LONDON — British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to “try to force an early general election” after Prime Minster Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority, in an interview published Saturday.
Corbyn’s Labour Party outperformed expectations in this month’s election, turning what was predicted to be a procession for May into a disaster, severely weakening her authority as Britain kicks off crucial Brexit talks.
Corbyn told the left-wing newspaper the Daily Mirror that it was “ludicrous” to believe the Conservatives’ minority government could survive, and that his party “will challenge this government at every step and try to force an early general election.”
A poll for the paper asking the public who would make the best prime minister has put Corbyn ahead for the first time, although other surveys have revealed little appetite for another vote after two tumultuous years for British voters.
May’s party is currently in negotiations with Northern Ireland’s DUP to secure an informal parliamentary deal that would give it an effective majority.
MPs will vote on May’s legislative agenda next week, and opposition parties have vowed to block her program in what is traditionally seen as a test of confidence in the government.
Members of May’s own party are reportedly lined up to dump their leader if it looks like her government will lose the vote.
Corbyn, a far-left politician, ascended to leadership of Labour in 2015. Last year a parliamentary committee of inquiry determined he was not doing enough to curb the growing prevalence of anti-Semitic hate speech in his party.
The previous year, Corbyn attended a memorial ceremony for Palestinian terrorists who were killed by Israel before the initiation of peace talks. And in 2009, Corbyn described during a speech in parliament both Hamas and Hezbollah as organizations “dedicated towards the good of the Palestinian people and bringing about peace and social justice and political justice.” Corbyn last year said he regretted calling the groups his “friends” in the same speech.
JTA contributed to this report.