UK Parliament approves Prime Minister's early election call

But Mr Corbyn dismissed her argument that she needs a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was "extremely interesting" that she had chosen to call an election as the Crown Prosecution Service prepares to decide whether to press charges against a string of Tory MPs over allegations relating to 2015 general election expenses. Labour would need a massive shift in public sentiment to win a June election, these polls suggest.

In fiery exchanges in the House of Commons on Wednesday, May said an early election would strengthen her hand against domestic critics seeking to "frustrate the process" of Brexit, which formally began last month.

Voters could give Europhile politicians a boost in Britain's upcoming election, but the effect will be limited and the prospect of a grand alliance to soften Brexit is improbable, analysts said.

But May won the day with a commanding majority.

She insists an early election would provide "certainty and stability" in the negotiations, which will now start after the vote. Mr Corbyn accused the government of "broken promises" on health, education and the economy during its seven years in office.

In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union.

He told MPs: "We welcome the opportunity of a general election because it gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".

May explained her policy U-turn with an attack on her domestic political opponents, many of whom support Britain's continued membership of Europe's single market, accusing them of "game-playing" over Brexit.

The snap election caps a tumultuous few years in British politics that has seen two historic referendums-one on Brexit, one on Scottish independence-and a prime ministerial resignation.

Britain's second female prime minister, who took over last summer following her predecessor David Cameron's failure to convince voters to back the European Union, also appears to have won strong popular support for her handling of the political quake unleashed by Brexit.

He said Labour's collapse under Jeremy Corbyn helped explain the prevailing poll results.

In a worrying sign for Labour, three of its MPs have already announced they will not stand again.

"We will not let the elite extract wealth from the pockets of ordinary working people any longer".

"The SNP remains dominant in Scotland and is likely to retain most of its 56 seats".

Like nearly everyone else in Britain, the election announcement caught financial markets off guard, amid concerns of the economic implications of Brexit.

The pound rallied on speculation that May will be returned with a stronger mandate, but this caused London's FTSE 100 index - which features many multinationals earning in dollars - to fall.

  • Salvatore Jensen