So, we’re facing the prospect of another summer dominated by polarising voting stances; who’s looking forward to it?
To help you out we’ve collated a fact sheet below.
When is it?
8 June 2017.
Why has it been held?
Upon announcing the snap election, May said: “We need a general election and we need one now. 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.
"I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. Since I became Prime Minister I've said there should be no election until 2020, but now I have concluded that the only way to guarantee certainty and security for the years ahead is to hold this election and seek your support for the decisions we must take."
Threats from opposition parties also played a part, she revealed: “If we don't hold a general election now, their political game-playing will continue and the negotiations with the European Union will reach their most difficult stage in the run up to the next scheduled election.”
How have other political leaders reacted?
Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, was first off the mark with a statement: “This election is your chance to change the direction of our country.
“If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit. If you want to keep Britain in the single market. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.
“Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority.”
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, recorded the following message:
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party, called May’s announcement “one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history”. It shows, she continued, “that [May] is, once again, putting the interests of her party ahead of those of the country”.
The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts. Let's stand up for Scotland. #GE17— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) April 18, 2017
Caroline Lucas, Co-leader of the Green Party, saw the positives in the news: “Today’s announcement means that people are rightly given a say over the direction this country is going to take.”
Paul Nuttall, UKIP Leader, believed May made the call due to “the weakness of Corbyn’s Labour party rather than the good of the country”. Intriguingly, he added: “There is also the prospect of a slew of Tory-held byelections caused by the seeming systematic breach of electoral law at the last election, predominantly in places where UKIP were pressing the Conservatives hard.”
We welcome the General Election, but make no mistake - it is driven by Labour's obvious weakness, not the good of the country— Paul Nuttall (@paulnuttallukip) April 18, 2017
Every vote for @UKIP in this General Election will be a reminder to the PM that the British people want a clean Brexit with restored borders— Paul Nuttall (@paulnuttallukip) April 18, 2017
Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru, damned the UK Government for committing “our country to a path of extreme economic recklessness”. In a call to political arms, she said: “It doesn’t have to be their way.
“Plaid Cymru will provide real opposition to the Tories. The Party of Wales will contest every seat in June to make sure Wales has a stronger voice than ever before.”
What does the potential result look like so far?
Not good for Corbyn, however you look at it…
With the PM calling for a general election on 8 June, 50% say she would be make the best PM, 14% for Jeremy Corbyn, 36% don't know pic.twitter.com/qhhdCe5nFe— YouGov (@YouGov) April 18, 2017
Opinium/Observer:— Opinium Research (@OpiniumResearch) April 15, 2017
CON 38 (-3)
LAB 29 (+1)
LD 7 (-1)
UKIP 14 (+1)
GRN 5 (+2)
SNP 5 (-1)
Will there be a televised debate?
No, don’t expect a televised debate. In 2010, the televised debates bought politics into households, and in front of people, who otherwise would not have engaged in politics. Some even credit the success of Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister and current MP for Sheffield Hallam, and the Liberal Democrats on these encounters.
But don’t expect them this year. 10 Downing Street has, according to Channel 4 News, ruled them out. Gary Gibbon, their political Editor, writes: “No 10 is saying there will be no TV debates cluttering up your screens in this election.
"Rather than go down the route of pretending they’re longing for such things to happen but the logistics might be tricky they’ve gone for a more open approach: forget it.
"Don’t expect many press conferences either or extended interviews.
"Theresa May is not a huge fan of these sorts of encounters and her team think they open up risks that don’t need to be taken. So the 2017 general election will make the 2015 one look like ‘access all areas’ as far as the Tories are concerned.”
Corbyn took a leaf out of Donald Trump’s book – a sign of things to come? – and called her out on Twitter about this:
If this #GeneralElection is about leadership, as Theresa May said this morning, she should not be dodging head-to-head TV debates.— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) April 18, 2017