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Theresa May calls general election for June 8

PUBLISHED: 11:14 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:31 18 April 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Calverton Village Hall in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, where she launched the Conservative local election campaign.

Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Calverton Village Hall in Calverton, Nottinghamshire, where she launched the Conservative local election campaign.

PA Wire/PA Images

The prime minister Theresa May has announced a general election on June 8.

Speaking outside Downing Street this morning Mrs May said Cabinet had agreed to call the poll and the vote was in the “national interest”.

The move takes place against the backdrop of the country’s decision to leave the European Union in last year’s referendum.

Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not.”

“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country,” she said.

“So we need a general election and we need one now.

“Because 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.”

Explaining her change of heart on an early election, Mrs May said: “I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election.”

The prime minister will now ask the House of Commons if she can call a general election.

She needs a two third majority to override the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would vote for the election.

He said: “I welcome the prime minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.

“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.

“In the last couple of weeks, Labour has set out policies that offer a clear and credible choice for the country. We look forward to showing how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain.”

More to follow.

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