British PM Theresa May calls General Election for 8 June

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June, saying Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership following the EU referendum.

Explaining her decision to go to the polls, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not” and concluded that “the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”

There will be a vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday to approve the election plan in which the prime minister needs two thirds of MPs to vote in favour to bring forward the next scheduled election date of 2020.

Mrs May accused Britain’s other political parties of “game playing”, adding that this risks “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. 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.

“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.”

– Prime Minister, Theresa May

According to a statement made outside Number 10, Mrs May said Labour had threatened to vote against the final Brexit agreement and cited opposition to her plans from the Scottish National Party, the Lib Dems and “unelected” members of the House of Lords.

“If we don’t hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election.”

– Prime Minister, Theresa May

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the election, calling it a chance to get a government that puts “the majority first”.

However, according to Number 10 sources, the prime minister will apparently refuse to take part in any planned televised leader debates ahead of the vote.

Mr Corbyn criticised the decision, saying Mrs May should not be “dodging” a head-to-head encounter. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems urged broadcasters to “empty-chair” the prime minister by holding a debate without her.

The first Live TV debates took place in a UK general election in 2010. A variety of different formats were used in 2015’s General Election.