Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a plan to call a snap general election on 8 June.
In a speech today she said “division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country”.
“So we need a general election and we need one now, because 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,” May declared.
“I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became prime minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded 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.”
May announced she will move a motion in the House of Commons calling for a general election to be held on 8 June.
She said: “Tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the announcement a “chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first”. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the vote on 8 June as a chance to “change the direction of your country”.
He tweeted: “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
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said May was trying to impose a “hard Brexit” with the poll. She told BBC Scotland: “Clearly [May] sees the opportunity, given the total disarray in the ranks of the Labour party, to crush all opposition to her, to get rid of people who disagree with her, and to give herself a free hand to take the country in the increasingly right-wing direction that she wants to take it in.
“That would mean not just the hardest possible Brexit, but more austerity and deeper cuts.”
Read the full statement here.