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Corbyn launches election campaign with appeal to overturn 'rigged system'
20 April 2017, 06:35 | Kelvin Horton
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Theresa May will reportedly include her Brexit negotiating priorities in the ConservativeGeneral Election manifesto to lock Remain-backing Tory MPs and the House of Lords into backing her stance.
British voters will be heading to polling stations for the third time since 2015, after lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap election on June 8.
May is calling for the early election in June because she wants a bigger mandate in Brexit talks.
May says a strong mandate from the nation will help her government navigate Brexit negotiations.
"I believe that at this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster not division", she said as MPs debated in Parliament.
It was a surprise, not just because (in theory at least) we are now supposed to have a fixed-term parliament, with elections every five years, but because this is precisely what she said she wouldn't be doing.
Corbyn said years of Conservative austerity had led to falling living standards and called May "a prime minister who can't be trusted". Labour's wounds reflect the backlash that brought Britain its vote to leave the European Union, Donald Trump to the White House and a far-right candidate running a close race for the French presidency.
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis, who has had to curtail his honeymoon because of the election, was one of the MPs who voted against it.
History shows it may be too soon to ring the death knell for a party that won three consecutive elections before being unseated in 2010, but the political landscape doesn't suggest a resurrection anytime soon.
If the vote passes, parliament will dissolve on 3 May, 25 working days before the country goes to the polls.
President of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted that he had a "good phone call" with May on the upcoming elections, before tweeting a more cryptic message reading "It was Hitchcock, who directed Brexit: first an natural disaster and the tension rises".
May, however, said she believes that going out into the public and "knocking on doors" to meet voters would be much more beneficial than time spent in television studios embroiled in debates. "They are wrong", she said.
May's Conservatives now hold 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.
Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union and Sturgeon argues it should now be allowed to break off from Britain to hold on to close ties with the bloc.
"I don't think other parties will refuse to take part in debates, and I wonder whether Number 10 will stick with that, because it may look a bit odd if other parties are facing audiences and making their case", he said.
And Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, who faced Mrs May when they were rival candidates at the 1992 general election in North West Durham, said: "The British people deserve to hear party leaders set out their plans and debate them publicly. Since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that", May said.
SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also argued that "broadcasters should empty chair her and go ahead anyway". Corbyn wins only 14 per cent, according to pollster YouGov.
The party currently has 229 and is defending one seat in a special election on May 4 that now looks redundant.
Elections took place in May 2015 and were not expected until May 2020.
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