UK's May says early election averts clash with end of Brexit talks

Fending off repeated barbs for not agreeing to appear on live television debates between party leaders, May said she would be out on the streets debating with everyone, and accused the opposition of trying to divide Britain.

Mr Corbyn retorted: "We welcome the general election but this is a Prime Minister who promised there wouldn't be one, a Prime Minister who can not be trusted".

"What the British people - what the people of the United Kingdom - voted for past year was for the UK to leave the European Union".

The Prime Minister easily cleared the hurdle needed under the Fixed Term Parliament Act to bring the poll forward from the scheduled date of 2020.

May requires two-thirds of the House of Commons to vote in favour of her proposals for a snap General Election in her bid to secure the majority backing of the British people to provide a stronger mandate during European Union negotiations later in the year.

"Let us tomorrow vote for an election".

Sterling rose to a four-month high against the USA dollar after the market bet that May would strengthen her parliamentary majority, which Deutsche Bank said would be a "game-changer" for the pound. They formed part of a coalition government in 2010, a majority in 2015 and are expected to return to power on June 8, which would hand May a new mandate for a series of reforms she wants to make and also a vote of confidence for her vision of a "hard" Brexit.

Three weekend opinion polls put the Conservatives about 20 points ahead of Labour, and if translated into votes, this could give May an "election landslide" with a majority of more than 100, according to an analysis by The Times.

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The broadcaster's move means either the prime minister can show up to the debate and risk strengthening Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn or decide to stay away from the studios and be empty-chaired.

Munro said: "There is a proven track record over two elections and two referendums that debates reach huge audiences including a lot of young people who don't watch conventional political coverage in great numbers".

But if anti-Brexit voices do well in the polls, May could be forced to soften her demands that Europe provide favorable conditions for the split. This means the vote to approve the general election should be a formality.

Tusk will chair a summit of the other 27 European Union national leaders in Brussels on April 29, where he expects them to agree negotiating guidelines he has proposed. She will likely get it, since Labour has welcomed the early election.

The Mail's headline was strongly condemned by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who said the election was in danger of being "dragged into the gutter".

The Telegraph reflected the nation's surprise at the imminent election: "May's bolt from the blue".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron dismissed the PM's claims as "nonsense" and said she only wanted an election to secure an increased majority. "She's taking people for granted already and voters never like that".

Rather than helping the country unite, the election could widen divisions within the United Kingdom.