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.”
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.”
As news of the early U.K. election spread, many took to social media to vent their frustration.
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?”