General election: Tory victory 'will not strengthen May's Brexit hand'

May's call comes despite a law passed in 2011 under Cameron's coalition government aimed at keeping elections five years apart to prevent precisely this kind of uncertainty.

If she can achieve a resounding election victory, that would limit the scope for parliament to block or water down her plan for Britain to quit the European Union single market and to prioritise immigration control. She has always maintained her support for the target of reducing net migration - the total amount of incomers to the United Kingdom each year minus the number leaving the country - below 100,000, despite failing to hit it during six years as Home Secretary.

She told The Sun she chose to reverse earlier pledges not to go to the country early because she wanted to be able to go into Brexit negotiations with the "backing of the British people" as her "very clear mandate".

May, who also backed staying in the European Union but has since embraced the notion of life outside the bloc, is pitching her campaign on a promise of stable leadership to deliver a good deal for Britain from exit negotiations with Brussels.

He said the election was not about Brexit but a battle of "the Conservatives, the party of privilege and the richest, versus the Labour Party, the party that is standing up for working people to improve the lives of all".

Theresa May put forward a number of reasons for calling a snap election on June 8, "stability and certainty" chief among them.

May is hoping to gain a bigger majority in Parliament for her Conservatives, strengthening her negotiating hand with the EU.

Mrs May has argued that an increased Commons majority would strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations, making it more hard for the opposition parties at home to obstruct her plans.

Mr Corbyn made the remark after being asked whether he would step down if Labour lost on 8 June.

"The prime minister's attempt to dodge scrutiny shows how she holds the public in contempt", he said.

But speaking during an election visit to Enfield, in north London, Mrs May insisted: "We want to see sustainable net migration in this country".

Corbyn was in London to deliver what was the first major speech by a party leader in the election race.

A Downing Street source said the PM would not appear on the same stage as another leader on television, but did not rule out an individual event with a studio audience.

On Thursday, she said she plans to stick to her pledge to reduce annual net migration to below 100,000 a year. May's decision for earlier elections could help push plans in Scotland to hold another referendum on independence in a bid to remain in the EU.

  • Zachary Reyes