UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June
She said Britain needed certainty, stability and
strong leadership following the EU referendum.
Explaining the decision, Mrs May said: "The
country is coming together but Westminster is
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said his Labour
Party wanted the election, calling it a chance to
get a government that puts "the majority first".
There will be a vote in the House of Commons
on Wednesday to approve the election plan - the
prime minister needs two thirds of MPs to vote
in favour to hold a vote before the next
scheduled election date of 2020.
Explaining her change of heart on an early
election, Mrs May said: "I have concluded the
only way to guarantee certainty and security for
years ahead is to hold this election."
She accused Britain's other political parties of
"game playing", adding that this risks "our ability
to make a success of Brexit and it will cause
certainty and instability to the
"So we need a general election and we need one
now. We have at this moment a one-off chance
to get this done while the European Union
agrees its negotiating position and before the
detailed talks begin.
"I have only recently and reluctantly come to this
conclusion. Since I became prime minister I've
said there should be no election until 2020, but
now I have concluded that the only way to
guarantee certainty and security for the years
ahead is to hold this election and seek your
support for the decisions we must take."
In a statement outside Number 10, Mrs May said
Labour had threatened to vote against the final
Brexit agreement, the Liberal Democrats had
stated they wanted to "grind the business of
government to a standstill", the SNP have said
they would vote against the legislation that
formally repeals Britain's membership of the EU -
and "unelected" members of the House of Lords
had vowed "to fight us every step of the way".
"If we don't hold a general election now, their
political game-playing will continue and the
negotiations with the European Union will reach
their most difficult stage in the run up to the
next scheduled election," she said.
For months Theresa May have
played down the prospect of an early poll. The
reasons were simple. They didn't want to cause
instability during Brexit negotiations. They didn't
want to go through the technical process of
getting round the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
They didn't want the unpredictability of an
election race. And many in the Conservative
Party believed there is so little chance of the
Labour Party getting its act together before 2020
that they could carry on until then and still
expect a sizeable majority.
There was also, for Theresa May, the desire to
show that she will be a prime minister who
sticks to her word. But the relentless political
logic proved too tempting to hold to all of that.
Read Laura's full blog
The PM challenged the opposition parties: "This
is your moment to show you mean it - to show
you're not opposing the government for the sake
of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a
"Let us tomorrow vote for an election - let us put
forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative
programmes for government and then let the
"The decision facing the country will be all about
leadership. It will be a choice between strong
and stable leadership in the national interest,
with me as your prime minister, or weak and
unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy
Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats -
who want to reopen the divisions of the
referendum - and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP."
Mr Corbyn said he welcomed the prime
minister's decision, saying it would "give the
British people the chance to vote for a
government that will put the interests of the
majority first", saying that this would include
dealing with "the crisis" in housing, education
funding and the NHS and pushing for an
"economy that works for all".
He told the BBC: "I'm starting straight away and
I'm looking forward to it and we'll take our
message to every single part of this country...
We're campaigning to win this election - that's
the only question now."
Asked if he will be the next prime minister, the
Labour leader said: "If we win the election - yes
- and I want to lead a
government that will
transform this country, give real hope to
everybody and above all bring about a principle
of justice for everybody and economic
opportunities for everybody."
Pound jumps and shares fall
How the UK's last election finished in 2015
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said
she would be fighting the election "to win".
"I think the prime minister has called this
election for selfish, narrow, party political
interests, but she has called it and therefore I
relish the prospect of getting out to stand up for
Scotland's interests and values, standing up for
Scotland's voice being heard and standing
against the ability of a right wing Conservative
party to impose whatever policies it wants on
In his response to Mrs May's announcement, Lib
Dem leader Tim Farron tweeted: "This is your
chance to change the direction of your country.
If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit. If
you want to keep Britain in the single market. If
you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and
united, this is your chance.
"Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a
MPs known to be standing down at the election:
Mrs May spoke to the Queen on the phone on
Easter Monday to let her know of the election
plan, the prime minister's official spokesman
said. She anean
before calling the election.
Former prime minister David Cameron called
Theresa May's decision to hold a snap general
election "brave and right". In a tweet, he added:
"My very best wishes to all Conservative
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn urged all
political parties to "commit to working to ensure
businesses can continue to trade easily with our
EU neighbours, while seeking new opportunities
around the world".