MPs clear way for general election on June 8

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday defended her decision to call an early election for June, saying it would strengthen the government's hand in negotiations to leave the European Union.

Mr Corbyn claimed there was an "overwhelming case" for remaining in the European Union ahead of the referendum while Mr Farron said after the referendum the Lib Dems would not trigger Article 50 if they won the next election, preferring to keep Britain in the EU.

No details of format or date have yet been released, but it is expected that Julie Etchingham will host the programme, as she did in 2015, when seven leaders including David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg took part in a two-hour showdown. With Mrs May needing the support of 434 MPs - two thirds of all seats in the House of Commons - some 522 voted for the early election, with just 13 against. For a politician who has cultivated a reputation as a straight shooter who puts country before party, the about-face on early elections could smack of opportunism.

There was never any real doubt about Mrs May securing the backing needed to go to the country, with both Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Tim Farron saying they welcomed the election - though Scottish National Party MPs abstained in the vote.

May apparently calculated that the risks of an early vote were small compared with the possible payoff from a strengthened Conservative hold over Parliament.

"That's why we will prove the establishment experts wrong and change the direction of this election - because the British people know that they are the true wealth creators, held back by a system rigged for the wealth extractors".

May's Conservatives now hold 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

Ms. May would undoubtedly have had Scotland in mind when she opted for the general election.

Although winning The Labour Party is what the Conservatives like to do, perhaps that is not the "frustrating opposition" Theresa May had in mind.

Labour, the second-largest party in Parliament, campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, but Corbyn said he would respect voters' decision to leave.

After Labour moderates mounted a failed coup against Corbyn previous year, criticism from within his own party escalated in February when the Conservatives took a district in northwest England always held previously by Labour. He said Tuesday that Labour's election platform in June would be for a more equal society and economy, and "a Brexit that works for all". It didn't end well for Labour back then as it crashed to its worst electoral defeat since before World War II and took another 14 years to win power.

The PM confirmed on Wednesday that she will not face Mr Corbyn and other party leaders in live TV debates in the run-up to the June 8 poll, insisting that campaigning should be about getting "out and about" meeting voters.

The strongly pro-EU Liberal Democrats have seen thousands of new members join since the referendum and are likely to make gains.

The Labour party has rejected May's claims that the election is about Brexit and said they will make issues about austerity and working conditions central to its campaign.

Rather than helping the country unite, the election could widen divisions within the United Kingdom.

"There will be no second referendum".