Toby Melville/Reuters & Francois Lenoir/Reuters
The European Parliament's chief Brexit coordinator says the result of Theresa May's snap election will be irrelevant to Brexit negotiations.
Writing in The Observer, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt slammed what he called "an attempted power grab" motivated by opportunism, saying it will be of very little consequence in Brussels.
Theresa May, who had previously ruled out a general election, said a Conservative victory would make her "stronger" when she "negotiates for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the EU."
However, Verhofstadt seemingly rubbished her logic. He said additional Tory MPs on the back benches will do nothing to help Britain's standing in the negotiations.
"The theory espoused by some, that Theresa May is calling a general election on Brexit in order to secure a better deal with the EU, is nonsensical," he wrote.
"Will the election of more Tory MPs give Theresa May a greater chance of securing a better Brexit deal? For those sitting around the table in Brussels, this is an irrelevance."
The Brexit coordinator also took issue with the timing of the election, calling it a "powergrab" designed to "take advantage of a Labour party in seeming disarray to secure another five years of power before the reality of Brexit bites."
Labour is expected to be crushed by the Tories in the June election, with the latest polls showing Labour trailing by 24 points. News of the snap election also lead to 12 Labour MPs resigning.
Despite this, party leader Jeremy Corbyn maintains that Labour is stronger than ever, citing a record number of members.
"We're ready for it," he said. "We've got more members than we've ever had before, we've paid off all our debts to the party, we don't have any mortgages, we are in a very strong, organised position."
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