Early insults fly as MPs clear the way for June polls

Earlier, Mr Corbyn dismissed Mrs May's argument that she needs a fresh mandate to deliver Brexit, and said it was "extremely interesting" that she had chosen to call an election as the Crown Prosecution Service prepares to decide whether to press charges against a string of Tory MPs over allegations relating to 2015 general election expenses.

"I believe that at this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, not division", she said.

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".

The governing Conservative Party now has a narrow majority of 17 seats in the House of Commons.

The victory "shows the power of a clear pro-European message in seats that voted Remain", Sylvester said.

"Whether the election will contribute to stability remains to be seen", Timms said.

As the PM hinted she may be ready to drop the pledge, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates urged her to stick to the target, which was put into law with the backing of the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition in 2015. The ministers approved her call for a snap general election on June 8.

May called for an early general election on Tuesday.

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Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media outside 10 Downing Street, in central London, Britain April 18, 2017.

Labour's top ranks convened an emergency meeting after Mrs May's announcement on Tuesday, where Mr Corbyn told MPs he did not underestimate the task ahead, but "let's get out there".

Jeremy Corbyn is resisting Mrs May's efforts to make Britain's exit from the European Union the defining issue of the election, insisting the poll instead gives voters a chance to pass judgment on the Conservatives' record on austerity and public spending cuts.

Already a number of Labour lawmakers have announced they won't stand for re-election.

Former British finance minister George Osborne, a Conservative who is a key opponent of Brexit, also said yesterday he was quitting Parliament, but would "go on fighting" for Britain as editor of London's Evening Standard newspaper. "I am stepping down from the House of Commons - for now", he wrote in a letter to his constituents.

It is no surprise that Scottish nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon, who wants another referendum on independence, says someone has to speak up for Scotland. "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", she said.

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. Previously she had played down the possibility of an early election, and no poll was due until 2020.

The main effect of the snap election on the Brexit process will be to delay the start of negotiations ...

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