Prime Minister Theresa May has announced plans to call a snap general election on 8 June.
In a surprise statement outside 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May claimed that Labour and the Liberal Democrat’s opposition to the Government’s Brexit strategy was frustrating the national interest.
She said that only a Conservative government, with an increased Parliamentary majority, could provide Britain with much needed strength and stability going forward with negotiations with the EU.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has welcomed the news, calling it a “chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.”
It is unclear whether the unique challenge of a general election will serve to galvanise his party, despite its deep divisions. It is thought, however, that Mr. Corbyn’s team have been preparing for the news for some time.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has however characterised the Prime Minister’s announcement as a “huge political miscalculation”, accusing Mrs. May of putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country.
Ms. Sturgeon also stressed that, in regard to a second Scottish independence referendum, her position remained “clear, and will continue to be clear throughout this campaign”.
It is said that the Prime Minister reached the decision whilst on a walking holiday in Wales. She had previously ruled out any possibility of there being a General Election before 2020, somewhat ironically citing concerns over instability.
The Conservative Party goes into the election campaign with a commanding position in the opinion polls, with an average lead of around 15 points over Labour.
A few Labour MPs have used the announcement to declare their intention to stand down from Parliament, the most notable being former Cabinet minister Alan Johnson, who has served the Hull West and Hessle consistency for 20 years.