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Theresa May criticised for saying no to General Election TV debates
22 April 2017, 12:55 | Terri Saunders
The president of the European Commission believes "real" Brexit talks will only start after British snap elections called for June 8, an EU spokesman said on Wednesday.
She told The Sun she made a decision to reverse earlier pledges not to go to the country early because she wanted to be able to go into Brexit negotiations with the "backing of the British people" as her "very clear mandate".
The Scottish National Party's leader in the Westminster parliament, Angus Robertson, said: "For months we have heard from her that now is not the time for the public to vote, that no one wants it, that it is important to get on with the day job, that nothing should get on the way".
"If you look at the timetable, had the election been in 2020 we would have been coming up to the most crucial part of the negotiations, at the end of the negotiations, in what would be starting to be the run-up to a general election".
May, who has described herself as "not a showy politician", said she would rather talk directly to voters.
Deutsche Bank economists said they were changing their view on the pound following May's election call.
While promising to run a "positive and optimistic campaign", she said the choice at the election was between her "strong and stable leadership" or a "coalition of chaos" led by Mr Corbyn.
Britain is now gearing up for its third general election in seven years, which comes less than a year after the divisive referendum that decided the United Kingdom would withdraw from the EU.
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that broadcasters should hold debates anyway, with an empty chair in May's place.
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May had previously said categorically that the next general election would be held as scheduled in 2020.
Jeremy Corbyn says Labour "welcome" a general election.
The UK prime minister formally triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and European Union officials say they do not expect the election to make any difference to the timing of talks.
"If the SNP wins this election in Scotland and the Tories (Conservatives) don't, then Theresa May's attempt to block our mandate to give the people of Scotland a choice over their own future when the time is right will crumble to dust", said Sturgeon, who heads Scotland's devolved government.
A large majority of MPs voted in favour of the election, with 522 backing the motion while 13 MPs voted against - leading to a majority of 509 votes.
A Crowdfunding page set up after Theresa May called the 8 June election has already raised more than £70,000 of the £80,000 required for the campaign.
"Why will she not debate those issues publicly now".
Mrs May indicated that Conservative candidates will be expected to sign up to her election manifesto in full, putting pressure on remaining Europhiles within her party to toe the line.
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