Jeremy Corbyn: Labour welcomes Theresa May's decision to call an early general election
Jeremy Corbyn has said he "welcomes" Theresa May's decision to call a general election for 8 June.
Mr Corbyn's statement makes it certain Theresa May will get the two-thirds House of Commons majority she needs to call the election.
The Prime Minister dramatically announced this morning that she would be going to the country, arguing that the Government's Brexit negotiating position was being undermined by its small majority.
"If we do not hold a General Election now their political gameplaying will continue and the negotiations with the EU will reach their most difficult stage in the run-up to the next scheduled election," Mrs May said on the steps of Downing St.
"Division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit and it will cause damaging uncertainty and instability to the country.
Her predecessor David Cameron welcomed the decision in a tweet.
'INTERESTS OF THE MAJORITY'
In a statement shortly after Mrs May's announcement, the Labour leader said: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.
“Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS.
“In the last couple of weeks, Labour has set out policies that offer a clear and credible choice for the country. We look forward to showing how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain.”
HEADING FOR DEFEAT?
Despite his confident statement, the polls suggest Mr Corbyn's party is heading for a decisive defeat in the upcoming vote.
Three recent polls have all given the Conservatives a 21 point lead, a result which if replicated on election day would probably give Mrs May a majority of over 100 seats.
One Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has already announced he will not be standing in the marginal Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland seat.