United Kingdom election 'good for EU' - European Parliament chief

But it is the provisions on the bill that are likely to be spotlighted when Theresa May holds talks with the European Commission Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. A two-thirds majority of MPs must agree to a move that will shorten the lifespan of a parliament.

"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".

Several Labour lawmakers told The Guardian they felt their leader was too hasty in supporting a snap election based on Mrs May's terms and in a climate of national instability because of Brexit.

Critics say snap elections have mainly been used by British leaders to hold early votes when it benefited their own parties.

Mrs May used her speech to praise MPs after 522 voted in the Commons for the early election, with just 13 against.

She said a general election will provide Britain with five years of strong and stable leadership to see the country through its negotiations with the European Union to make sure "we are able to make a success of the European Union referendum result".

"Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back", asserted the British PM. May has been insisting until days ago that she had no intention of calling an early election.

Her predecessor David Cameron agreed to be questioned in front of a BBC Question Time-style audience for live television programmes during the 2015 general election.

Jeremy Corbyn will promise that a Labour government will "put the interests of the majority first" and oppose the "cosy cartel" running the United Kingdom as the left-wing leader delivers his first major speech of the general election campaign on Thursday (20 April).

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In a sign of the key campaign issues ahead, May traded barbs in the Commons with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party is deeply divided and languishing up to 20 points behind the Conservatives.

The pro-Brexit, right-wing newspapers portrayed her decision as an aggressive move to strengthen her hand in the talks with the 27 other European Union members and to crush her domestic opponents.

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

The main opposition Labour Party has 229 seats, but numerous party's MPs are estranged from their leader Jeremy Corbyn. "The country is coming together, but Westminster is not".

He said Mrs May's U-turn on her previous insistence that she would not call a snap election showed she could not be trusted.

Barnier is expected to get a formal mandate to begin talks on May 22 although they are not now expected to begin in earnest until after the British election.

There has been widespread public support for Monday's decision, while political experts have given mixed responses.

"Make no mistake, if the SNP wins this election in Scotland - and the Tories don't - then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to hold another referendum when the time is right, will crumble to dust", SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

But Ms Richards said she did not believe a potential worsening of the economy to be a factor. "The election will be dominated by Brexit, and the Labour Party will have to finally clarify its position".

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