United Kingdom lawmakers approve general election for June

The election will be held on June 8, almost a year after 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the European Union (EU).

"That is what our plans for Brexit and our plan for Britain will deliver, and that is what the Conservative Party will be offering at this election".

Parliament will still sit for another fortnight, but party leaders wasted no time in hitting the campaign trail on Wednesday evening.

Defending the measure, Mrs May told MPs there was a "window of opportunity" to hold a poll before Brexit negotiations began in earnest in June and that the country needed "strong leadership" to make a success of the process.

May's call for an early election came after firm assurances that she would not seek a new election before 2020.

"That would be in nobody's interest", May said.

But analysts have said the chances are weak - chiefly because the Liberal Democrats would probably not want to ally with a struggling Labour Party, which is also deeply divided over its current leader. The SNP accused Mrs May of political opportunism but abstained in Wednesday's vote.

Investors were reacting to Mrs May's plans to hold a general election on June 8, which will face a House of Commons vote this afternoon.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that, for May, calling the election is "the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby". She had resisted calls for an early election from within her own party for months.

The June election would be the third time in two years voters are sent to polling booths, after a May 2015 national election and a June 2016 referendum on European Union membership.

"Had the election been in 2020, we would have been coming up to the most crucial part of the negotiations at the end of the negotiations in what would be starting to be the run-up to a general election", she said.

She said she wanted a stronger mandate because, with a slim working majority of just 17 MPs, opposition parties were intent on "frustrating" Brexit, even though she has yet to lose a vote on the issue in the Commons.

"That's what this is about, it's about asking the people to trust me, to trust us in government, to give us that mandate to go and get that really good deal for the United Kingdom".

Initially, EU officials had said that the talks could start in late May once a detailed negotiating mandate had been agreed among the EU's 27 other members. Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

However, during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mrs May said: "We won't be doing television debates".

The Prime Minister has denied she is scared of going head to head with her opponents, and said she will hit the campaign trail and talk to voters rather than tour the TV studios.

  • Zachary Reyes