Jeremy Corbyn welcomes snap General Election

Although Parliament will not be officially dissolved until early May, campaigning is already under way - with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron addressing a rally of activists in south-west London earlier on Wednesday.

It claims 1,000 new members have joined the party in the hour following the election announcement, and sees the opportunity as "a chance to change the direction of our country". The colour blue is associated with the Conservative Party.

The British currency, which had weakened before the announcement, was up by more than a cent against the dollar.

They say that a government with a stronger mandate could get a better deal for the U.K. However, it could also push through a more aggressive version of Brexit that cuts off business more from the EU's single market.

The main opposition Labour Party is in a weaker position ahead of the proposed June 8 election, experts say, bitterly divided over both its leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn and how to respond to Brexit.

May spoke of opposition parties, particularly Labour and the Liberal Democrats, threatening to block the Brexit process.

Anytime a leader goes to the people for a vote, there are risks, as Cameron learned to his peril when he lost the vote on Britain's departure from the European Union just over a year after winning re-election.

Theresa May's decision to "reluctantly" call an early election marks her first major u-turn as prime minister.

"I believe that at this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, not division", Ms May told parliament.

While Mrs May reaffirmed her commitment to give Parliament a vote on any deal with the European Union she flatly ruled out a second referendum.

Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, the next general election date was to be in 2020.

The result easily surpassed the two-thirds majority of the 650 lawmakers needed to trigger an early vote.

She has also played up the strength of the British economy, which has so far defied predictions of a slowdown - a key campaign theme that her Conservative Party will use to try to undermine Labour in the election.

She added: "I thought it was important to have a degree of stability at that stage and ensure the British people could have confidence that their Government was going to deliver on what they'd voted for". All political parties have indicated that they will vote with the government to call an election, thus the motion will pass.

Against a backdrop of raucous cheers and jeers, May called Corbyn "not fit to lead" and said his left-wing economic policies "would bankrupt this country".

Britain's next election had been scheduled for May 2020, but a two-thirds majority vote in parliament could overrule that.

  • Leroy Wright