Thurrock Labour welcome the news of a General Election

"The public want us to deliver on leaving the European Union and they want us to build that stronger Britain for the future beyond leaving the European Union".

In the chamber Ms Cooper, who is married to former minister and Strictly Come Dancing star Ed Balls, told Mrs May: "The Prime Minister yesterday said she was calling a general election because Parliament was blocking Brexit".

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons shortly before MPs vote on her plans for a June 8 poll, Mrs May denounced her Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn as "not fit to lead".

The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that Mrs May scheduled the election for as early as June because she was afraid Mr Corbyn might resign, making way for a potentially more popular leader who would invigorate Labour. If Theresa May is so proud of her record, why won't she debate it?

"Because Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave, it's about negotiating the deal, about getting the right deal from Europe".

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused Mrs May of "bottling" and said broadcasters had a "moral duty" to go ahead with the televised leaders' showdowns even if she fails to take part. "If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance".

Tom Blenkinsop said he would stand down from his Middlesbrough South seat due to "significant and irreconcilable differences with the current Labour leadership", while former shadow chancellor Alan Johnson also said he would not stand and that it would be "best for the party" for him to quit.

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For Labour, this would be the lowest proportion of the vote since 1918 - before they had formed a government.

"I had no idea she was going to call it".

"She's got article 50 through, which I voted for".

Britain's snap election is likely to be judgement day for embattled opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, but offers little prospect of resolving the deep-seated tensions tearing the party apart, experts said. One of those "remain" voters was Kathleen Turner, a pensioner who says she will now vote Conservative to give May the mandate to carry out Brexit anyway.

The EU parliament's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt, said that the election would be an opportunity for the British people to form the future of its withdrawal and planned to "work with the new government for the best common future possible".

Ms Osamor said: "This election allows Labour to offer the people of the United Kingdom with a genuine alternative to the crippling austerity which the Conservatives have presided over for the past seven years".

Across the continent, there are a number of unpredictable elections that are fast approaching. But that also means that there are 25 Conservative-held seats where the Lib Dems need a swing of less than 10 percentage points to win.

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