Britain witnesses hectic 1st day of election campaigning

Ms. May had previously pledged not to call elections until 2020, when they would normally be scheduled.

Spiking by more than 3 cents to $1.2876 in the hours after May's announcement Tuesday of a June 8 general election, the pound hit its highest level since early October.

"The Conservatives" Plan for Britain will ensure a better deal for local people, delivering an economy - and a country - that works for everyone'.

The Liberal Democrats were in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015, but were crushed in an election that year, losing all but eight of their seats in the House of Commons.

Conservatives topped the list with 48 percent, up 4 percentage points on the last poll.

Justifying her U-turn she told MPs on Wednesday afternoon she said: 'Today we face a new question: how best to secure the stability and certainty we need over the long term in order to get the right deal for Britain in Brexit negotiations and make the most of the opportunities ahead.

John Husselbee, head of multi-asset at Liontrust Asset Management says: "The knee-jerk reaction to the snap United Kingdom election announced by Theresa May yesterday was a stronger pound and a weaker United Kingdom stock market".

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

So far, Labour's stance has been to allow the government to go ahead with the European Union divorce - but only under certain conditions, such as retaining strong economic ties with the bloc.

But Labour MP Gisela Stuart, one of the architects of Brexit as co-chair of Vote Leave, said she would be standing down after 20 years as MP for Birmingham Edgbaston.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who faced Mrs May when they were rival candidates at the 1992 general election in North West Durham, said: "The Prime Minister and I, back in 1992, debated publicly, forcibly and amicably when we were both candidates together".

"Given the huge challenges we face, there is no doubt in my mind that there is so much more work that needs to be done to protect the interests of the Borders".

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"We have a one-off opportunity, while the European Union agrees its negotiating position among the 27 countries, before the detailed talks".

The announcement caught British political observers off guard as well as financial markets, which retreated as investors reacted cautiously to May's speech.

Britain's next national election had not been due until for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

As the preparations gather pace for the snap election, the knives are already out.

"Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave".

"I am looking forward as all Lib Dems are to see how we preform nationally this time round", he said.

A BBC Poll of Polls on April 18, averaging on recent polls conducted by YouGov, Opinium, ComRes and ICM polls throughout the UK showed the Conservatives leading with 43 per cent support, Labour with 25 per cent, UK Independence Party with 11 per cent, Liberal Democratic Party with 10 per cent, Scottish National Party with five per cent and Green Party with four per cent.

On Wednesday, the government and the opposition were trying to frame the significance of the forthcoming elections on June 8.

Parliament will dissolve on May 2 and formal campaigning will begin.

The Brexit negotiations are expected to start in June.

"If the SNP wins this election in Scotland and the Tories (Conservatives) don't, then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to give the people of Scotland a choice over their own future when the time is right will crumble to dust", said Sturgeon, who heads Scotland's devolved government.

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