BRITISH Prime Minister Theresa May has called a snap general election for June 8.
Ms May made the announcement outside 10 Downing Street in Westminster, despite officials repeatedly insisting there would be no early poll.
“We need a general election and we need one now. We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done … before the detailed talks begin,” Ms May said.
It will give the Prime Minister the opportunity to pursue her own mandate, after she inherited the leadership following the resignation of David Cameron in the wake of the Brexit referendum last July.
She said that since Britons voted to leave the EU, the country had come together, but politicians had not.
She said the divisions risk undermining Britain’s position in Brexit negotiations that lie ahead.
The pound slumped in the hour between the press conference was announced and Ms May’s statement was delivered.
She will move a motion in the House of Commons tomorrow calling for the election to be held in less than two months time, on Thursday, June 8.
It will require two-thirds of the 650 members of the House of Commons to support it, but is expected to pass.
The timing of the poll will also allow the Tories to capitalise on opinion polls showing their massive lead over the Labour Party, which is struggling under besieged leader Jeremy Corbyn.
A round of opinion polls over the Easter weekend also showed her Conservative Party far ahead of the main opposition Labour Party.
The Conservatives polled at between 38 per cent and 46 per cent, with Labour at 23 per cent to 29 per cent, according to the polls by YouGov, ComRes and Opinium.
The poll lead had prompted many senior Conservatives to call for an election, particularly as May will need a strong parliamentary majority as she seeks to negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The Conservatives currently have a working majority of just 17 from the last election in 2015 and some of their MPs have indicated they could vote against the government on key aspects of Brexit legislation.