LONDON — The mysterious news came early Tuesday. British Prime Minister Theresa May was to deliver a surprise announcement at 11:15 a.m. local time. As the podium was set up outside her office at 10 Downing Street, speculation quickly began.
PM making statement on steps of No.10 at 11.15am.
Downing St refusing to say what it's about. Source: "you'll hear it from the PM first"
— Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) April 18, 2017
Many took to Twitter to discuss what may be said. Would the prime minister resign? Would May speak on the war on terror? As politicians theorized and journalists debated, others came to more lighthearted conclusions.
Theresa May to appear on Downing Street at 11:15 to announce that she is the new Doctor Who.
— Paul Mitchell (@mrmitchell78) April 18, 2017
Minutes ahead of schedule, the British prime minister announced an early general election to be held on June 8. “We need a general election, and we need one now,” May said, despite stating on numerous occasions in the past that there would be no general election until 2020.
Former British prime minister David Cameron called May's decision “brave” and “right.”
— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) April 18, 2017
Leader of the Labour party Jeremy Corbyn backed May's decision: “I welcome the PM’s decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first.”
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon accused May of using the early election as an opportunity to impose deeper cuts. Vowing to protect Scotland, Sturgeon later called May's plans “a huge political miscalculation.”
The Tories see a chance to move the UK to the right, force through a hard Brexit and impose deeper cuts. Let's stand up for Scotland. #GE17
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) April 18, 2017
As news of the early U.K. election spread, many took to social media to vent their frustration.
Jesus. As if the country needed one more thing to worry about. Scottish independence, general election, European indepenence, now this.
— Ricky Hancock (@DIsForDaenerys) April 18, 2017
So a General Election announcement was what we ALL needed to bring us crashing back down to earth after a glorious 4 day weekend WASN'T IT.
— Effi Mai (@EffiMai) April 18, 2017
Speaking to the BBC's Jon Kay about the surprise announcement, one woman in Bristol seemed to sum up the general feeling in Britain: “You're joking. There's too much politics going on at the moment. Why does she need to do it?”