Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Alastair Grant / AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May called for a general election to be held on June 8 — it was originally scheduled to take place in 2020.

It's a tumultuous time for the United Kingdom. The nation signaled its intent last month to leave the European Union, marking the beginning of a two-year negotiation period for the terms of Brexit. So why would Theresa May and her Conservative Party choose to start an election battle now, especially after saying over and over again that this wasn't going to happen?

Between the lines: This decision is all about the coming Brexit negotiations, but — not surprisingly — there's a hefty dose of political calculation in there, too.

May's public reasoning: "Our opponents believe because the government's majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and they can force us to change course. They are wrong. They underestimate our determination to get the job done … what they are doing jeopardizes the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the government's negotiating position in Europe."

The political calculation: Labour's opposition is in shambles under the divisive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, who doesn't have the backing of most of his MPs after losing a no-confidence vote after the EU referendum last year. A poll this weekend had a 21-point Tory lead over Labour in a general election and another yesterday had a 36-point lead for May as the best PM over Corbyn.

What May hopes will happen: May thinks she can get a Tory majority of over 100 in the House of Commons based on current sky-high polling numbers. (Right now, the Tories have a working majority of 17.) A sweeping victory will give her a significant mandate to lead as Brexit negotiations move forward.

What's next: Before 2011, the Prime Minister could simply dissolve Parliament and call a general election with royal backing. Now, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, May must obtain a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons to call an election. But Corbyn has already said that he "welcome[s] the Prime Minister's decision" in a statement. May said the vote will be tomorrow in the Commons, so the game is on.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.