What Are Snap Elections? What to Know Ahead of June 8
Theresa May kicked off seven weeks of campaigning on Wednesday with a promise of strong and stable leadership after MPs overwhelmingly backed her call for a general election on June 8th.
May said on Tuesday she had been reluctant to bring forward an election that was scheduled to take place in 2020, but had decided it was necessary to stop the opposition jeopardising her work on Brexit. She made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek an early election less than halfway through her government's five year-term.
Speaking to The Sun, Mrs May said: "What I hope comes out of the election is support from the public to say we agree with their plan for Brexit, so that when I go into Europe I've got that backing of the British people".
She says an early election would provide "certainty and stability" in the negotiations, which will now start after the vote.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has signalled its MPs will abstain in the vote and Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while accusing May of political opportunism, have welcomed the prospect of an early election.
Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.
They formed part of a coalition government in 2010, a majority in 2015 and are expected to return to power on June 8, which would hand May a new mandate for a series of reforms she wants to make and also a vote of confidence for her vision of a "hard" Brexit.
Tusk will chair a summit of the other 27 European Union national leaders in Brussels on April 29, where he expects them to agree negotiating guidelines he has proposed.
The president of the European Commission, Mr Jean-Claude Juncker, believes "real" Brexit talks will only start after British snap elections, an EU spokesman said yesterday.
The House of Commons voted for an early election by 522 votes to 13 - a majority of 509.
Jeremy Corbyn will promise that a Labour government will "put the interests of the majority first" and oppose the "cosy cartel" running the United Kingdom as the left-wing leader delivers his first major speech of the general election campaign on Thursday (20 April).
May must first win the support of two-thirds of the parliament in a vote on Wednesday, which looked certain after Labour and the Liberal Democrats said they would vote in favour. "Now was not the time, she said, to be distracted from the job at hand".
But May won the day with a commanding majority.
One broadcaster, ITV, said it planned to hold a debate with or without the prime minister.
An official statement from the broadcaster said: "ITV will hold a leaders' debate as we did in 2010 and 2015".
Televised debates give the opposition a chance to score points against the establishment - as Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg successfully did during the 2010 debates.