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UK set for 8 June election

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Theresa May calls snap vote to be held in seven weeks – and some Turkish speakers in the UK will have a crucial vote

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said this week that she was calling a snap general election for 8 June.

The announcement, which stunned political observers everywhere by its suddenness, came on Tuesday morning in a televised statement outside Downing Street,

She said: “I have just chaired a meeting of the Cabinet, where we agreed that the Government should call a general election, to be held on June 8.”

Ms May said she had called the election despite previous assurances that she would wait until 2020 because she wanted a stronger mandate to negotiate Britain’s exit from the European Union.

“Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit, and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country,” she said.

“So we need a general election and we need one now. Because we have at this moment a one-off chance to get this done, while the European Union agrees its negotiating position and before the detailed talks begin.”

Ms May went on: “Our opponents believe because the Government’s majority is so small that our resolve will weaken and that they can force us to change. They are wrong.

“They under-estimate our determination to get the job done and I am not prepared to let them endanger the security of millions of working people across the country, because what they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the Government’s negotiating position in Europe.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the announcement, saying he was looking forward to the opportunity to put his case to the voters.

In a campaign speech he was due to deliver on Thursday, he was expected to say: “Much of the media and Establishment are saying this election is a foregone conclusion.

“They think there are rules in politics, which if you don’t follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can’t really change, then you can’t win.

“But of course those people don’t want us to win. Because when we win, it’s the people, not the powerful, who win.”

He was expected to continue: “They say I don’t play by the rules – their rules. We can’t win, they say, because we don’t play their game.

“They’re quite right I don’t. And a Labour government elected on 8 June won’t play by their rules.”

But the polls suggested it would be an uphill fight for Mr Corbyn, with Ms May’s Conservative Party enjoying a 20-point lead in most national opinion polls.