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UK Prime Minister Theresa May announces snap election - full statement ITN
14:59

And that concludes our live coverage of Theresa May announcing a new general election.

Here's to the next seven weeks of UK politics.

Full coverage of all today's news can be found at IBTimes.co.uk.

14:46

Alan Johnson, the Labour veteran and outspoken critic of Jeremy Corbyn, is also reportedly not going to stand in the upcoming election.

Alan Johnson
Getty

14:43

Despite Theresa May's announcement calling for a new election taking the UK by surprise, the PM's biographer said the decision is "completely in character".

Speaking to IBTimes UK, Rosa Prince, author of Theresa May: the Enigmatic Prime Minister, added:

The full article on Prince's views on May's snap election can be read here:

Theresa May election
Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street REUTERS

14:27

IBTimes UK columnist James Bloodworth has written a piece with the blunt title 'Labour is heading for its worst election defeat in living memory'.

Here is an extract from the article, which you can read in full here:

Yet for anyone with both an interest in the Labour Party and a residual grip on reality, the strongest instinct on hearing today's news must have been a powerful sense of dread. Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is facing an electoral wipe-out worse than anything since 1983 under Michael Foot. I suspect things will turn out far worse than that even, and will look more like 1935, when the party won a mere 154 seats.

14:14

Vince Cable, the former business secretary who was one of a number of Lib Dem MPs to lose their seat at the 2015 election, has said he will be standing in June, reports LBC.

14:01

IBTimes UK has collected some of the best reactions to the news the UK is holding yet another major election following 2014's IndyRef, the 2015 General Election, 2016's EU Ref and now the 2017 GE.

I feel Brenda has summed up the nation's feelings precisely.

Full reaction piece can be read here.

13:51

Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn spoke to the BBC and said he "welcomes the opportunity" for Labour to "put the case in how this country could be run" which includes a "Brexit that will work for everyone".

He added:

When asked if he will stand down as party leader if Labour loses, Corbyn responded: "We are campaigning to win this election. That's the only question now."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomes snap election ITN

13:37

13:29

And here's a video I'm sure will be repeated over the next few weeks, in which Theresa May fervently denies plans for a snap election while speaking to Andrew Marr.

Theresa May tells Andrew Marr in 2016: ‘I'm not going to be calling a snap election' BBC

13:23

Arron Banks, the millionaire backer of the Leave.EU campaign and former chief funder of Ukip, has confirmed he will be standing against Douglas Carswell in the newly announced election.

Carswell, who was Ukip's only MP before he quit the party in March, will run in the Clacton seat as an independent.

Full story here.

Arron Banks
Getty

12:55

The Lib Dems have said they gained 1,000 members in an hour after May called the election.

According to a press release from the party, the Lib Dems saw a "surge" soon after the PM's statement outside Downing St as people "flocked to support the party and change the direction of the country away from the Conservatives' disastrous hard Brexit".

President of the Liberal Democrats, Sal Brinton, said.

"This is a time when liberals must stand together, and people across the country are doing just that.

"The surge in our membership proves that the Liberal Democrats are seen as the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government.

"While Theresa May is seeking to divide the country, the Liberal Democrats are the only party fighting to keep Britain Open, Tolerant and United."

Full story here:

12:42

We now have a short video collating all the major party leaders' reactions to the news of the general election.

Here's how other party leaders have reacted to Theresa May's general election announcement Wochit

12:28

Second most googled question right now is apparently "when was the last general election?"

Which is fair enough, as May 2015 really does feel like a lifetime ago.

12:20

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has tweeted his reaction to the GE news. He writes:

12:14

You can now read Theresa May full statement on calling for the 8 June election, describing it as a moment a choice between a "strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats".

May speech in full:

"I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.

"I want to explain the reasons for that decision, what will happen next and the choice facing the British people when you come to vote in this election.

"Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became Prime Minister the Government has delivered precisely that.

"Despite predictions of immediate financial and economic danger, since the referendum we have seen consumer confidence remain high, record numbers of jobs, and economic growth that has exceeded all expectations.

"We have also delivered on the mandate that we were handed by the referendum result."

"Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back. And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.

"We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

"That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

"This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.

"At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.

"The country is coming together, but Westminster is not."

"In recent weeks Labour has threatened to vote against the deal we reach with the European Union.

"The Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standsill.

"The Scottish National Party say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain's membership of the European Union.

"And unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.

"Our opponents believe that because the Government's majority is so small, our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change course.

"They are wrong.

"They under-estimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country.

"Because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the Government's negotiating position in Europe.

"If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue, and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election.

"Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.

"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.

"I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion.

"Since I became Prime Minister I have said that there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions I must take.

"And so tomorrow I will move a motion in the House of Commons calling for a general election to be held on the eighth of June.

"That motion, as set out by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, will require a two-thirds majority of the House of Commons.

"So I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties, you have criticised the Government's vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before Parliament."This is your moment to show you mean it, to show you are not opposing the Government for the sake of it, to show that you do not treat politics as a game.

"Let us tomorrow vote for an election, let us put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.

"And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership. It will be a choice between strong and stable leadership in the national interest, with me as your Prime Minister, or weak and unstable coalition government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, propped up by the Liberal Democrats – who want to reopen the divisions of the referendum – and Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

"Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done.

"Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.

"Every vote for the Conservatives means we can stick to our plan for a stronger Britain and take the right long-term decisions for a more secure future.

"It was with reluctance that I decided the country needs this election, but it is with strong conviction that I say it is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.

"So, tomorrow, let the House of Commons vote for an election, let everybody put forward their proposals for Brexit and their programmes for Government, and let us remove the risk of uncertainty and instability and continue to give the country the strong and stable leadership it demands."

Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

12:08

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described May's announcement of a general election following months of denying one will take place before 2020 as "one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history".

Sturgeon added:

Nicola Sturgeon, Theresa May
Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon meet in a hotel in Glasgow, Scotland Russell Cheyne/Reuters

12:04

According to Guido Fawkes, Downing Street Director of Communications Katie Perrior has quit.

She said:

Always said I wouldn't stay past an election. Good decision, right choice. A vote for Theresa May and a Conservative Government is the only route forward. As for me - new opportunities ahead. Exciting times!

11:49

We now have a full story on what the most recent polls predict this election result could be.

As noted in the story:

11:43

Jeremy Corbyn has now responded to the news of an upcoming election, with polls suggesting his party will suffer a heavy defeat.

Corbyn 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.

Jeremy Corbyn
Daniel Leal-Olivas/Getty Images

11:41

Kezia Dugdale, the leader of the Scottish Labour party, said theyw ill do all they can to elect Jeremy Corbyn as the next PM.

She added:

Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale at a Scottish Labour Party event at the City Halls in Glasgow Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

11:38

The Green Party has also responded to the announcement of an early General Election.

Party leader Caroline Lucas has promised a "bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain"

Lucas added:

"Britain is at a crossroads – and today's announcement means that people are rightly given a say over the direction this country is going to take. Only the Green Party offers a bold, positive vision for a different kind of Britain. At this election we will stand for an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few; a Britain that's open to the world and the protection of our precious environment.

We will stand up to the politics of hatred and division that is scarring our communities and give people across the country a chance to vote for a better Britain."

Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas Getty

11:31

Here we have a graph showing the last major polling results with all five showing nothing but a resounding victory for the Conservatives.

Latest voting intentions

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5%

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45%

ICM

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

YouGov

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

ComRes

Conservative

Labour

+21%

Biggest

margin

Lib Dem

UKIP

Opinium

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

Ipsos MORI

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

0%

5%

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15%

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40%

45%

Source: IBT research

Latest voting intentions

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45%

ICM

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

YouGov

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

ComRes

Conservative

Labour

+21%

Biggest

margin

Lib Dem

UKIP

Opinium

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

Ipsos MORI

Conservative

Labour

Lib Dem

UKIP

0%

5%

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25%

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45%

Source: IBT research

11:28

Not even 30 minutes since the announcement and Labour has already suffered its first casualty as MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland announces he won't seek re-election.

11:23

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has already issued a statement on may's announcement, describing how 8 June is "your chance to change the direction of our country".

"If you want to avoid a disastrous Hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the Single Market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.

"Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority."

Tim Farron Liberal Democrat MP
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images