Pound surge suggests UK election will yield smoother Brexit

With the Prime Minister 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.

But Labour MP Gisela Stuart, one of the architects of Brexit as co-chair of Vote Leave, said she would be standing down after 20 years as MP for Birmingham Edgbaston.

"I will be asking the British people for a mandate to complete Brexit and to make a success of it", the Conservative leader said, to cheers from her lawmakers sitting behind her.

Earlier, May said holding an election in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, would "deliver a more secure future for our country" as it negotiates its departure from the EU.

The general consensus is that Labour had no choice but to support a General Election as an opposition that refuses to go to the people doesn't believe in itself.

Britain will also not have a say in the future location of London-based European Union agencies, he added, contradicting one United Kingdom official who said this week that the issue would be part of the Brexit negotiations, Reuters reported.

"Second, we do not believe that Prime Minister May is willing to soften her Brexit stance before negotiations with the European Union commence - from the perspective of political capital building, this makes little sense".

The Liberal Democrats were in a coalition government with the Conservatives between 2010 and 2015, but were crushed in an election that year, losing all but eight of their seats in the House of Commons.

A large majority for the Tories would strengthen the Government's hand in negotiating a good Brexit deal and provide "strong and stable leadership in the national interest", she said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he welcomed the general election.

The Tories may also lose votes to the LibDems in Tory/LibDem marginals in England as Remain voters protest against a hard Brexit (that won't show up yet in polls).

May has called the election to increase the narrow 17-seat working majority in parliament she inherited from her predecessor David Cameron, who quit previous year after Britons rejected his call to stay in the EU. The leaders of the 27 remaining European Union countries will meet on April 29 to agree the bloc's negotiating position, which will then be translated into a legal text by the European Union commission in May.

But analysts have said the chances are weak - chiefly because the Liberal Democrats would probably not want to ally with a struggling Labour Party, which is also deeply divided over its current leader.

But he insisted that Liberal Democrats gave voters "the opportunity to change the direction of this country" by electing MPs who will hold back the "disastrous" drive to take Britain out of the single market.

Spiking by more than 3 cents to $1.2876 in the hours after May's announcement Tuesday of a June 8 general election, the pound is now at its highest level since early October. TV debates don't have a long history in British politics, but were a feature of the last two elections, in 2010 and 2015.

And he challenged the Prime Minister to face him in a public debate.

"Make no mistake, if the SNP wins this election in Scotland - and the Tories don't - then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to hold another referendum when the time is right, will crumble to dust", SNP leader and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.