Tory election manifesto 'will include PM's Brexit pledges' to stifle rebellion

MPs were also excited by the news that ITV will go ahead with a leaders' debate, despite May's confirmation on Wednesday that she will not take part in any. And also speak for the values that I have espoused as a chancellor and as a member of parliament for 16 years, which are the openness, the tolerance, the diversity that I think makes Britain a great country.

European Union officials say Britain's surprise election will not interrupt the bloc's preparations for Brexit talks " though they will slightly delay the start of negotiations.

Theresa May will reportedly include her Brexit negotiating priorities in the Conservative General Election manifesto to lock Remain-backing Tory MPs and the House of Lords into backing her stance.

British elections are fixed in law but can be changed with a two-thirds majority in the Commons - a threshold easily passed during Wednesday's vote.

She said on Tuesday she had "reluctantly" come to the decision to call for an early election because of political division in Westminster, criticising opposition parties for trying to thwart her plans for leaving the EU.

Labour shadow ministers are among the potential casualties, with Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sue Hayman, and Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Cat Smith, likely to lose their north-western constituencies.

"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.

Now that lawmakers have approved the election, Parliament will be dissolved at midnight on May 2, 25 working days before election day.

And he told MPs: "We welcome the opportunity of a general election because it gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".

The smaller Liberal Democrats, who lost most of their seats in 2015 after entering coalition with the Conservatives, are hoping to capitalise on their strong support for the European Union to win new support. 23% of respondents said they plan to vote Labour.

Rejecting the PM's claim that an election is needed to prevent disunity at Westminster undermining a Brexit deal, Mr Corbyn said: "There is no obstacle to the Government negotiating, but, instead of getting on with the job, she is painting herself as the prisoner of the Liberal Democrats".

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

A European Commission spokesman said the "real political" negotiations on Brexit will start after the election.

"I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet the voters", she said.

One broadcaster, ITV, said it planned to hold a debate with or without the prime minister.

Senior Liberal Democrats have already "confirmed" to The Telegraph that Blair "could" strike an alliance with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and lead a joint campaign against Brexit at the general election.

"So we have this period in which the future of the United Kingdom in Europe, in the world, is in play and she wants to remove scrutiny and accountability and that lies beneath, I think, this snap decision just as much as the polls do".

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