Shock as Theresa May announces June general election

Prime Minister Theresa May is to make a statement in Downing Street after Cabinet on Tuesday
Prime Minister Theresa May is to make a statement in Downing Street after Cabinet on Tuesday
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Prime Minister Theresa May today called a snap general election.

Mrs May said she intended to call a general election for June 8.

She will need a two thirds majority vote backing the move in the Commons tomorrow.

The Prime Minister had repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020.

But following a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street she said she would go to the country this year.

Speaking outside Number 10, the Prime Minister said the Cabinet had agreed to call an early election.

The move takes place against the backdrop of the country’s decision to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum.

Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”

She said the “division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit”.

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.”

Mrs May said she was acting now because of the opposition in Parliament to the Government’s plans for Brexit.

“Our opponents believe because the Government’s majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change. They are wrong,” she said.

“They under-estimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country, because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the Government’s negotiating position in Europe.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the news.

He said in a statement: “ 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.”