THERESA May has called an early general election for June 8 in an announcement which has stunned Westminster.
The Prime Minister had repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020.
But following a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street she said she would go to the country this year.
Speaking outside Number 10, the Prime Minister said the Cabinet had agreed to call an early election.
The move takes place against the backdrop of the country's decision to leave the European Union in last year's referendum.
Justifying the decision, May said: "The country is coming together but Westminster is not."
She said the "division in Westminster will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit".
Explaining her change of heart on an early election, Mrs May said: "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election."