Sterling is continuing to rise after MPs voted for a general election

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to media as she calls a snap general election in London on Tuesday. Xinhua-Yonhap

MPs have overwhelmingly backed Theresa May's plan to hold a snap general election on June 8 in a Commons vote the day after her shock announcement.

MPs from across the political spectrum voted 522-13 for a return to the polls - well above the two-thirds majority required under British law.

"I think it is right now to ask the British people, to put their trust in me and the Conservative Party to deliver on their vote a year ago a Brexit plan that will make a success for this country and deliver a stronger, fairer global Britain in the future".

Explaining her change of heart on a snap election, having previously ruled it out, Mrs May told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "When it came to triggering Article 50, around that time it became clear the extent to which the opposition parties in Westminster were intent on what I would describe as frustrating the Brexit process".

Under the terms of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, Mrs May must secure a two-thirds majority of MPs to bring the election forward by three years from the scheduled date of May 2020.

"I believe in campaigns where politicians actually get out and about and meet the voters", she said.

Cooper said: "The Prime Minister said yesterday that she was calling a General Election because Parliament was blocking Brexit".

Among the MPs who voted against the election was Labour's Clive Lewis, who is widely regarded as a potential successor to Jeremy Corbyn as party leader. The hotly contested "Brexit" referendum ended with the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Cameron. "They will have a choice between a Conservative government that has shown we can build a stronger economy and a Labour whose economic policies would bankrupt this country".

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Labour's Corbyn made clear he'll focus on May's dramatic decision to reverse her position on an early election as a sign she won't keep her promises.

In short, May is trying to make sure she gets a hard Brexit passed since the people voted to leave the EU.

Riding high in the opinion polls, May is seeking to increase her slim majority of 17 in the 650-seat Commons before the battles begin with the European Union over Britain's exit bill and future trade and immigration ties.

He said: "Theresa May's message is a very palpable one, that she needs the strongest possible hand and mandate to negotiate the strongest possible Brexit".

Brexit will dominate the campaign, with Ms May, who took office after David Cameron resigned following the European Union vote, seeking public backing for her plan to pull Britain out of Europe's single market.

Ms May insists an early election would provide "certainty and stability" in the negotiations, which will now start after the vote.

"What the British people - what the people of the United Kingdom - voted for previous year was for the UK to leave the European Union".

"What do we know that the leader of the Labour Party, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and the leader of the Scottish nationalists have in common?" she asked parliament.

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