Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a snap general election for the United Kingdom to be held on 8 June.
The proposed election, three years earlier than scheduled and just one year after the historic Brexit referendum, must first be approved by Parliament with a two-thirds majority vote in the Commons. That vote is due to be held on Wednesday and is expected to be carried.
Announcing the plan on Tuesday, the prime minister said she had come to the conclusion that an early election was necessary to enhance political cohesion as the country enters Brexit negotiations.
“The country is coming together but Westminster is not,” she said from outside Number 10 Downing Street.
“I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”
She argued that the other parties’ “game-playing” was jeopardising Britain’s chances of a successful Brexit.
“So we need a general election and we need one now,” she said.
“We have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”
Ms May acknowledged that she had until recently been against holding an early election following the Brexit vote and that she had now reluctantly changed her mind.
“Since I became prime minister I’ve said there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions we must take,” she said.
Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said he welcomed the early election as “an opportunity for us to put the case to the people of Britain to stand up against this government and its failed economic agenda which has left our NHS in problems, which has left our schools underfunded, which has left so many people uncertain.”