Prime Minister Theresa May has announced she will call for a general election to be held on June 8.
In an urgent statement this morning, Mrs May said that the country needed strong and stable leadership during the process of leaving the European Union.
Explaining her decision, she said: “Our opponents believe because the government’s majority is so small, that our resolve will weaken and they can force us to change course [on Brexit].
“If we do not 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.”
May had previously rejected calls to hold a general election, with a spokesperson as recently as last month ruling out such a possibility.
The Prime Minister said her decision came “reluctantly” after concluding that “the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.”
Parliament will vote tomorrow on whether to suspend the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act to allow the election to take place. This will require a two-thirds majority.
All the major opposition parties, including Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, have signalled that they will vote in favour of an early election.
In response to May’s announcement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told BBC News: “I welcome the opportunity for us to put the case to the people of Britain to stand up against this government and its failed economic agenda.”
The election is set to be dominated by differing approaches to the process of Britain leaving the European Union and it has been suggested that the TV debates that featured in the 2010 and 2015 elections may not take place this time around.
Recent polling suggests the Tories could achieve a majority of more than 100 seats in the election, according to Electoral Calculus:
- CONSERVATIVES – 377 (+46)
- LABOUR – 186 (-46)
- SNP – 54 (-2)
- LIBERAL DEMOCRATS – 9 (+1)
- DUP – 8 (+/-0)
- SINN FEIN – 4 (+/-0)
- PLAID CYMRU – 4 (+1)
- SDLP – 3 (+/-0)
- UUP – 2 (+/-0)
- GREEN – 1 (+/-0)
- UKIP – 0 (+/-0)