Should Theresa May take part in TV debates before the general election?

"In a sense she's essentially saying the reason we need to have this (election) is because "we need a government that has a clear majority that's committed to the version of Brexit I want".

And Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood - whose profile received a major boost from her involvement in two of the 2015 broadcasts - said: "Theresa May should be empty chaired if she doesn't show up to any planned TV debates". Standing outside her Downing Street office, May said she had decided "with reluctance" that an election was needed to secure political unity and stability as Britain negotiates its way out of the European Union.Sterling jumped as high as $1.2772, its strongest since December 14 and just shy of its highest in six months, as investors viewed the election as lessening political uncertainty and making it more likely that Britain could maintain some kind of preferential access to the single European market. Both the Conservative and Labour Party say they want to carry out last year's vote to leave the European Union, so calling off Brexit looks very unlikely.

During her bid for the role she ruled out an early election, pledging there wouldn't be a general election before 2020.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in comments to the Funke newspaper group published Tuesday that "any long uncertainty definitely will not do political and economic relations between Europe and Britain any good".

A new election will reopen some of the country's gravest divisions.

Theresa May said she would ask Parliament to hold a general election so she can win a direct mandate to take the country through the Brexit divorce with the EU. Leader Tim Farron said Tuesday that only his party can prevent a "disastrous hard Brexit".

The annual State Opening of Parliament will likely be delayed until June this year due to the surprise snap general election that will take place in a couple of months time.

May is seeking a stronger mandate as she negotiates Britain's exit from the European Union.

Recent opinion polls suggest May's Conservative government could dramatically increase its slender 17-seat majority in the UK's House of Commons following the election on 8 June.

A spokesman for Mr Tusk said: "The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans". "Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course".

"Let us tomorrow vote for an election, let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide".

There had been growing expectations the Labour leader would stand down after what was predicted to be a bad performance for the party in local elections on 4 May.

The Conservative Party says this is a "one-off chance to hold an election while the European Union agrees its negotiating position".

"The prime minister's attempt to dodge scrutiny shows how she holds the public in contempt". She's betting that the Conservatives can secure a larger majority, as a YouGov poll published over the weekend indicated that 44 per cent of voters would back the party in an election, compared with 36.9 per cent in the last vote, in 2015.

  • Joanne Flowers