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UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a general election to be held on June 8.

“I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.”

Conservative party leader Theresa May

“I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion,” May said. “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.”

May specifically pointed to the Labour party’s threat to vote against the final Brexit agreement and opposition from the Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats.

May will introduce a motion in the House of Commons on April 19 to approve the plan. The motion requires a two-thirds majority.

The House of Commons is expected to dissolve on May 3.

Reactions

“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,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Corbyn also told the BBC that he would be the country’s prime minister if his party wins.

Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron rallied supporters, tweeting that “this is your chance” for a Britain that is “open, tolerant, and united.”

“Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority,” Farron said.

Farron accused May of “bottling” televised debates and urged broadcasters to “empty chair” her if she refused to participate.

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said: “Only the Green party offers a bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain.”

“The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts,” Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said. “Let’s stand up for Scotland.”

In Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams tweeted: “So Ms May has called a British General Election. Sinn Féin is up 4 that!” He said the elections would be another chance to vote against Brexit.

Social Democratic and Labour Party leader Colum Eastwood issued a statement. “We now have an opportunity to strengthen the mandate of parties which campaigned against and consistently voted against Brexit at Westminster,” he said.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster called for a unionist pact, saying “the forthcoming election will be an opportunity for unionists to unite around a strong Democratic Unionist Party that will advocate for them in Parliament.”


Live TV coverage


As it happened

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May: Government to call general election on June 8

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May talking at length about Brexit.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn 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.”
Joanne April 18, 20175:41 am
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader:
“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.”
Fergus Kelly April 18, 20175:42 am

Green Party leader Caroline Lucas statement:
“Britain is at a crossroads – and today’s announcement means that people are rightly given a say over the direction this country is going to take.
“Only the Green party offers a bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain.
“At this election we will stand for an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few; a Britain that’s open to the world and the protection of our precious environment.
“We will stand up to the politics of hatred and division that is scarring our communities and give people across the country a chance to vote for a better Britain.”

hugo4de April 18, 20175:45 am

Statement from Larry the Cat

Joanne April 18, 20175:48 am
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrats leader:
“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.”
Fergus Kelly April 18, 20175:48 am
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn 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.”

I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the…

Posted by Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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Guardian/ICM weekend poll: Conservatives have 18 point lead over Labour
Conservatives: 44% (+1 since Guardian/ICM two weeks ago)
Labour: 26% (+1)
Ukip: 11% (-)
Lib Dems: 10% (-1)
Greens: 4% (-)
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UKIP leader Paul Nuttall:

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Netflix original series House of Cards:

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European Council president Donald Tusk

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SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon full statement:

“This announcement is one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history, and it shows that Theresa May is once again putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.
“She is clearly betting that the Tories can win a bigger majority in England given the utter disarray in the Labour party.
“That makes it all the important that Scotland is protected from a Tory party which now sees the chance of grabbing control of government for many years to come and moving the UK further to the right – forcing through a hard Brexit and imposing deeper cuts in the process.
“That means that this will be – more than ever before – an election about standing up for Scotland, in the face of a right-wing, austerity obsessed Tory government with no mandate in Scotland but which now thinks it can do whatever it wants and get away with it.
“In terms of Scotland, this move is a huge political miscalculation by the prime minister.
“It will once again give people the opportunity to reject the Tories’ narrow, divisive agenda, as well as reinforcing the democratic mandate which already exists for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future.
“The SNP will always put the people of Scotland first – and between now and June 8 we will work harder than ever to retain the trust of the people.”
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Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny:

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Full statement from Northern Ireland’s SDLP:

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has said that the British Prime Minister’s rush to call a snap Westminster election reflects the disdain she holds for Northern Ireland and attempts to restore power sharing government here.

Mr Eastwood said that the election on Brexit offers an opportunity for the public to stand behind parties which have steadfastly fought to defend the North.

“It tells you all you need to know about Theresa May that she would call a snap Westminster election in the middle of intense efforts to restore power sharing government to Northern Ireland. From the beginning of her tenure as British Prime Minister she has shown very little but disinterest and disdain for this place.

“As Theresa May seeks a mandate for a hard Brexit from an English electorate, people here have an opportunity to unite behind parties which have defended their will and sought to protect our values.

“England may want to isolate itself from Europe and the world. But people in Northern Ireland and Scotland made a different choice. A choice that cannot be fulfilled through a hard Brexit. We now have an opportunity to strengthen the mandate of parties which campaigned against and consistently voted against Brexit at Westminster.

“I know people are suffering from electoral fatigue. But this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. This is a moment to unite to deliver a strong message to Theresa May and the Brexiteers. Our voice will be heard.”

Fergus Kelly April 18, 20176:48 am

Henry McDonald from The Guardian:

The Northern Ireland Office said today any local assembly election is a function of what happens at the inter-party negotiations in Belfast. The prime minister’s announcement today will not have any bearing on separate election to a new devolved parliament at Stormont, the NIO confirmed.

Fergus Kelly April 18, 20176:52 am

Full statement from Northern Ireland’s SDLP:

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has said that the British Prime Minister’s rush to call a snap Westminster election reflects the disdain she holds for Northern Ireland and attempts to restore power sharing government here.

Mr Eastwood said that the election on Brexit offers an opportunity for the public to stand behind parties which have steadfastly fought to defend the North.

He said:

“It tells you all you need to know about Theresa May that she would call a snap Westminster election in the middle of intense efforts to restore power sharing government to Northern Ireland. From the beginning of her tenure as British Prime Minister she has shown very little but disinterest and disdain for this place.

“As Theresa May seeks a mandate for a hard Brexit from an English electorate, people here have an opportunity to unite behind parties which have defended their will and sought to protect our values.

“England may want to isolate itself from Europe and the world. But people in Northern Ireland and Scotland made a different choice. A choice that cannot be fulfilled through a hard Brexit. We now have an opportunity to strengthen the mandate of parties which campaigned against and consistently voted against Brexit at Westminster.

“I know people are suffering from electoral fatigue. But this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. This is a moment to unite to deliver a strong message to Theresa May and the Brexiteers. Our voice will be heard.”

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ITV has posted its interview of Theresa May on Facebook

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Fergus Kelly April 18, 20178:51 am
Northern Ireland’s SDLP leader Colum Eastwood published a statement:
“It tells you all you need to know about Theresa May that she would call a snap Westminster election in the middle of intense efforts to restore power sharing government to Northern Ireland. From the beginning of her tenure as British Prime Minister she has shown very little but disinterest and disdain for this place.
“As Theresa May seeks a mandate for a hard Brexit from an English electorate, people here have an opportunity to unite behind parties which have defended their will and sought to protect our values.
“England may want to isolate itself from Europe and the world. But people in Northern Ireland and Scotland made a different choice. A choice that cannot be fulfilled through a hard Brexit. We now have an opportunity to strengthen the mandate of parties which campaigned against and consistently voted against Brexit at Westminster.
“I know people are suffering from electoral fatigue. But this is not a time to sit on the sidelines. This is a moment to unite to deliver a strong message to Theresa May and the Brexiteers. Our voice will be heard.” ​
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German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said he hoped new elections would bring “clarity and predictibility” to Brexit talks.

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Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said he’s concerned about the impact UK elections will have on the ongoing political talks in Northern Ireland.

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