UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election

The arms of the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square appear to reach out towards the Big Ben clock tower above the Houses of Parliament in central London, Britain April 18, 2017.

"The choice on 8 June is between strong and stable leadership in the national interest with Theresa May and the Conservatives - or weak and unstable coalition government led by Jeremy Corbyn".

Downing Street sources say the Tory leader does not want to take part in TV debates ahead of the snap election on June 8.

(Philip Toscano/PA via AP).

One broadcaster, ITV, said it planned to hold a debate with or without the prime minister.

Underlining divisions the vote is unlikely to mend, however, Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of the Scottish government, described the decision as a "huge political miscalculation" that could help her efforts to hold a new independence referendum.

Since being fired by Theresa May, Osborne has earned lucrative speaking fees and taken on an advisory role for American investment giant Blackrock.

For decades British prime ministers could call elections at will, but that changed with the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which established set polling days every five years.

It has been speculated that the Lib Dems could join forces with Blairite Labour MPs to fight the election, and that even Tony Blair could work alongside Mr Farron's party.

The Daily Express says an early election will bring Westminster in step with the electorate, says rescuing May from the indignity of "commanding a tiny majority among MPs despite having enormous support among members of the public".

UPDATE 2.45pm: Britain will go to the polls on June 8, after MPs cleared the way for an early general election. The leaders of the 27 remaining European Union countries will meet on April 29 to agree the bloc's negotiating position, which will then be translated into a legal text by the European Union commission in May.

But they have welcomed the election too, which will be a test of Brexit.

Earlier, May said holding an election in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, would "deliver a more secure future for our country" as it negotiates its departure from the EU. Demmer said Wednesday: "The German government assumes that the negotiations can be continued without disruption".

If the election goes ahead, parliament would be dissolved from May 3 and the campaign would begin in earnest, just days after European Union leaders hold a special summit to agree a negotiating strategy for Brexit on April 29.

Elmar Brok, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats, told Germany's ARD television Wednesday that May could derive from a new, stronger mandate an "ability to compromise".

The "most likely outcome" will be that the Tories do well, he adds, which will "send a strong signal to [May's] European counterparts that she leads a country wholly committed to the radical course she is taking".

"A prime minister who can not be trusted".

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

Britain formally triggered the two-year Brexit process on March 29.

"When you are trying to say "I speak for Britain", you've got to get out there and listen to what Britain says back to you and argue your case".