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Opposition parties broadly welcome British snap election
Last Updated: 2017-04-19 07:18 | Xinhua
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There was broad welcome Tuesday from opposition parties after British Prime Minister Theresa May called a snap general election on June 8.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, said: "I welcome the prime minister's decision to give the British people the chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first."

"Labour will be offering the country an effective alternative to a government that has failed to rebuild the economy, delivered falling living standards and damaging cuts to our schools and NHS."

Tim Farron, leader of the minority Liberal Democrat party, said the early general election will be an opportunity for voters to "change the direction of our country." Farron has been demanding a second referendum to let the people of Britain decide on a final Brexit deal with Brussels.

Responding to May's announcement, Farron said: "If you want to avoid a disastrous hard Brexit; if you want to keep Britain in the Single Market; if you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance. Only the Liberal Democrats can prevent a Conservative majority."

Sal Brinton, president of the Liberal Democrats, said: "This is a time when liberals must stand together, and people across the country are doing just that. The surge in our membership proves that the Liberal Democrats are seen as the real opposition to this Conservative Brexit Government."

In the 2015 general election under then leader Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats lost 48 of its seats in the House of Commons, leaving them with just eight MPs.

Paul Nuttall, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP, said: "We welcome the general election, but make no mistake -- it is driven by Labour's obvious weakness, not the good of the country." UKIP was set up almost 30 years ago to campaign for Britain to leave the EU.

Former prime minister David Cameron hailed May's "brave and right" decision to call a snap election, adding: "My very best wishes to all Conservative candidates."

Cameron resigned as prime minister the day after the result of the June 23 referendum was announced. He has supported Britain remaining in the EU, but saw the leave campaign win by a margin of 52 to 48.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, gave her response.

On her social media site Sturgeon wrote: "The Tories (Conservatives) 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."

Sturgeon said the prime minister's decision was a huge political miscalculation as it would give voters a fresh chance to reject Conservative austerity and a hard Brexit, and give the Scottish National party a new mandate for an independence referendum.

"She (May) is clearly betting that the Tories can win a bigger majority in England given the utter disarray in the Labour party," said Sturgeon.

Sturgeon won support in the Scottish Parliament a few weeks ago to call for a new independence referendum for Scotland. May has responded by saying the time is not right for a referendum while Brexit negotiations are taking place.

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