European Union says ready to welcome back United Kingdom if it decides to stay

She said it was "all the more important that Scotland is protected from a Tory (Conservative) Party which now sees the chance of grabbing control of government for many years to come and moving the United Kingdom further to the right - forcing through a hard Brexit and imposing deeper cuts in the process".

The announcement of the visit comes just two days after May announced plans to hold a snap general election in Britain on June 8 in what she hopes will give her a "mandate to complete Brexit".

May enjoys a runaway lead in opinion polls over the main opposition Labour Party, and the British economy has so far defied predictions of a slowdown, offering her a strong base to launch a poll some lawmakers described as "opportunistic".

ComRes chairman Andrew Hawkins said the strength of the Tory lead could pose a problem for the party with the threat of complacency among Conservative supporters who may not turn out to vote.

EU Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and the bloc's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will hold talks with May in London next Wednesday, commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters Thursday.

She said a general election will provide Britain with five years of strong and stable leadership to see the country through its negotiations with the European Union to make sure "we are able to make a success of the European Union referendum result".

However, the unexpected elections might delay the beginning of the talks, which European Union officials said could begin as early as May.

Earlier, Mr Corbyn dismissed Mrs May's 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.

May said that if there is not an election soon, "the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most hard stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election".

Mrs May said that the pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on foreign aid would remain, following speculation that it would be scrapped in the Conservatives' election manifesto amid opposition from some lawmakers and newspapers who said it should be spent at home instead.

Britain's Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a meeting about social care in Birmingham central England Tuesday April 18, 2017.

Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the poll but accused Mrs May of changing her mind and breaking promises on a range of issues.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) recommended its members abstained from the vote.

"I trust the British public".

Brok said he expects May to win a parliamentary majority, but it's unclear how big. Because when we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win.

  • Leroy Wright