UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

UK election talk builds ahead of surprise statement from May

The Latest: Pound falls amid growing UK election speculation

"Sterling rallied across the board yesterday on the back of Prime Minister May's announcement of snap United Kingdom elections". "The British people voted previous year to leave the European Union".

Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 522 to 13 on Wednesday in favor of her plan to hold an election three years earlier than scheduled.

May wasted no time, going from the vote in Parliament to kick off her campaign with a speech in to supporters northwestern England.

In a preview of her election strategy, Mrs May said: 'I will be taking out to the country in this campaign a proud record of a Conservative government.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

"Brexit negotiations will start after 8 June elections", said Juncker to May, according to the Commission chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Berlin has "an interest ... in predictability and reliability because we want to get this process done in the prescribed period of time and, above all, because we don't need upheaval in this negotiating process".

Parliament is expected to be dissolved on May 3, as British law mandates the dissolution must happen 25 working days before a general election.

Thirteen voted against the motion.

The main opposition Labour Party is in a weaker position ahead of the proposed June 8 election, experts say, bitterly divided over both its leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn and how to respond to Brexit.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the PM had changed her mind "not for the good of the country but for reasons of simple party advantage". A landslide for the Tories could see them wrestle up to 56 seats away from the opposition, thus giving the Conservatives total control of the House of Commons.

Moreover, this is a prospect that people must consider if they are tempted to vote for the Liberal Democrats.

"She expects a coronation and not a contest", Farron said, urging voters to back his strongly pro-EU party to stop a Conservative landslide. At a recent parliamentary by-election, the Conservative Party captured the northern seat of Copeland from Labour, becoming the first governing party since 1878 to make a comparable gain.

May dismissed criticism of her decision to call voters back to polling booths for the third time in just over 24 months. A national election in May 2015 was followed by the June 2016 referendum on European Union membership.

It's this prospect of a so-called "hard Brexit" that has mainly anxious businesses in Britain, many of which trade intensely with the European Union, the biggest destination for British exports.

Mrs May said all Labour had to offer the country was "bankruptcy and chaos" while a Conservative victory would strengthen her hand in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.

"I'm asking them to put their trust in me and if they do that, if they give me a mandate for these negotiations for the plan for Brexit that the Government has, the plan for a stronger Britain beyond Brexit that we have, then I think that will strengthen our hand", May told BBC.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood - whose profile received a major boost from her involvement in two of the 2015 broadcasts - said: "Theresa May should be empty chaired if she doesn't show up to any planned TV debates".

Explaining her refusal to take part, Mrs May said: "I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet with voters".

The broad contours of the electoral debate likely to unfold in coming months began to emerge during Prime Ministers Questions and the debate held just ahead of the vote, as leaders and significant figures across the political spectrum sought to clarify their views.

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