Theresa May blames opponents for poll U-turn

There were also a number of abstentions.

The objective of the election, May said, is to give Britain the "strong and stable leadership it deserves" following the decision to leave the European Union.

The Labour Party would do everything it could to prevent an increase of the Conservative party majority, he added.

The opposition Labour Party and Liberal Democrats welcomed the chance to put their policies to voters, though the Scottish National Party said the election call is a cynical ploy.

The election will be held on 8 June, almost a year after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Osborne, who has five other jobs as well as a large family fortune, gave the scoop to the Evening Standard, where he is the new editor, although he missed the deadline for the print edition.

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"But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today ", he said. It is unclear what Mr O'Reilly will do next - or if he will contest the terms of his exit.

A victory would give May a powerful mandate extending until 2022, long enough to cover the Brexit negotiations plus a possible transition period into new trading arrangements with the EU.

May says politicians should "put our fate in the hands of the people and then let the people decide".

Desmond Swayne, a Tory MP, congratulated May on getting "those turkeys" on the Labour benches to "vote for Christmas" by supporting the motion for an early election.

Under British electoral law, May needs the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers.

Yesterday (Tuesday), UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she would ask the House of Commons to approve snap elections. Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May. "Following their conversation, the president considers that the real political negotiations on Article 50 with the United Kingdom will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June", the spokesman said, referring to the European Union treaty rule that regulates the exit of a member state from the bloc.

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"The decision facing the country will be clear".

Responding to ITV's announcement, Mr Corbyn said: "I welcome ITV's decision to attempt to hold a TV debate with the Prime Minister". Demmer said Wednesday: "The German government assumes that the negotiations can be continued without disruption".

Ms May insists an early election would provide "certainty and stability" in the negotiations, which will now start after the vote.

"It's about asking the people to trust me, to trust us in government, to give us that mandate to go and get that really good deal", May told the BBC on Wednesday.

Mrs May replied: "First of all I'd point out that I have been answering your questions and debating these matters every Wednesday that Parliament has been sitting since I became Prime Minister".

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UPDATE 1.40pm: Theresa May has promised to deliver "a strong economy, strong defence and strong, stable leadership" if Conservatives win the snap election. She said she was confident of reaching a deal in that time frame.

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