Prime Minister Theresa May has just announced she is calling for a general election on 8th June, saying that the decision was made to help with negotiations in Europe.
In a statement this morning, she said "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."
Currently un-elected, should May win the next general election, she would have her own mandate and could gain more power. Current YouGov polls look to be in her favour and may have had an impact on her thinking.
With the PM calling a general election for 8 June, here's YouGov's most recent voting intention— YouGov (@YouGov) April 18, 2017
Con - 44%
Lab - 23%
LD - 12%
UKIP - 10% pic.twitter.com/t6v36qPSrn
Labour confirmed that they will back the decision of a general election. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said “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, which has left our NHS in problems, our schools underfunded and so many people uncertain… We want to put a case out there for the people of Britain of a society that cares for all, an economy that works for all and a Brexit that works for all”
Tim Farron, Leader of Liberal Democrats, made a statement saying: “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.”
This is your chance to change the direction of your country pic.twitter.com/wfj4wC7yn3— Tim Farron (@timfarron) April 18, 2017
Upon making the decision, Faisal Islam, political editor of Sky News, tweeted this:
PM is challenging Corbyn to back a motion TOMORROW to give her two thirds majority in Commons to overcome Fixed term parliament act— Faisal Islam (@faisalislam) April 18, 2017
The need for the 2/3 of MPs to back a general election comes from the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. It was introduced by David Cameron during the coalition to help stability of power.
Number 10 says the Prime Minister spoke to the Queen on Easter Monday, before announcing her plan for an early vote. The full statement can be found on the BBC website, by clicking here.