The Prime Minister has announced that she will seek a snap election for the 8 June.
In an surprise Downing Street message, Theresa May said the UK needed certainty, stability and strong leadership in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union. This is a reversal of a repeated promise by May that an election before 2020 would cause instability.
Explaining the decision, May accused opposition MPs of playing games with Brexit and claimed “the country is coming together but Westminster is not.”
Liberal Democrat MPs have accused the Prime Minister of opportunism in choosing to call a general election now because Labour are struggling in the polls.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s call for a General Election, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: “This election is your chance to change the direction of our 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 Conservative majority.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wlecome dthe chance to fight an early general election:
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.
“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.
“In the last couple of weeks, Labour has set out policies that offer a clear and credible choice for the country. We look forward to showing how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain.”
Due to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, May will need to find support from two-thirds of parliaments to call an early election. The process for calling an early general election is described in the notes on the Act:
“The Act also makes provision to enable the holding of early parliamentary general elections. The trigger for such general elections would be either a vote of no confidence in the Government, following which the House of Commons did not pass a motion of confidence in a Government within 14 days, or a vote by at least two-thirds of all MPs in favour of an early election.”
The Commons will vote on a snap election on Wednesday.