What's next and what's at stake in UK snap election

Downing Street insisted that May did not want to call an early election in response to comments by former foreign secretary and Conservative Party leader William Hague, who urged her to scrap fixed-term parliaments to ease the waters when navigating Brexit.

When asked why the Prime Minister did not wish to seek her own mandate to lead the United Kingdom, he replied: "There's a Fixed Term Parliament Act".

Since the Brexit vote, in June, when Britain had voted to leave the European Union, the country had come together, May said, but the politicians had not.

Parliament will then be dissolved on Wednesday May 3, 25 working days before polling, marking the start of the official campaign.

Senior Tories have urged Ms May to call an early election, taking advantage of the Conservatives' healthy opinion poll lead over Jeremy Corbyn's Labour.

"This is Theresa May's attempt to free herself from some of the constraints she's under and get the mandate to execute the hard Brexit she's been talking about", said Mujtaba Rahman, managing director of the Eurasia Group.

Opposition parties said they would not block the move, sending Westminster into full-throttle election mode.

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Firms will want to be reassured that the key challenges facing the economy will be front and centre throughout any election period". The next general election was to be in 2020.

"So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands".

It is a measure of the tightness of the circle around Theresa May and the enigmatic quality of the Prime Minister herself that two rumours dominated the swirl in Westminster just before she made her announcement about a snap election.

May will go to the House of Commons Tuesday to lay down the necessary legislation for the calling of an early general election.

With both Labour and the Liberal Democrats saying they will support the motion, the outcome should be a formality.

Other early reactions have accused the Prime Minister of political opportunism as the prospect of devastating the opposition, winning a potential extra 100 seats would make her vision of domestic politics and Brexit negotiations unassailable.

With a 72 percent turnout in a referendum past year, British voters decided on the question: "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

Rupert Lee-Browne, boss of the foreign exchange firm Caxton FX, said he expected to see "even greater volatility in the value of sterling" from now until June.

May had taken office in July 2016, after her predecessor David Cameron stepped down, following his failed attempt to get voters to back Britain staying in the EU.

  • Leroy Wright