General Election: Party leaders hit the campaign trail

Party leaders are hitting the campaign since MPs backed holding a General Election on June 8.

Here are the latest updates:

  • Prime Minister Theresa May called for a snap General Election in a surprise announcement on Tuesday
  • MPs backed the poll on Wednesday by 522 votes to 13
  • Ahead of the vote, George Osborne stepped down as an MP
  • Within hours, Mrs May and Mr Corbyn had addressed supporters, setting out their visions for the country
  • The PM has ruled out taking part in any TV election debates but may appear in a televised Q&A
  • Mrs May's press secretary and director of communications have already stepped down
  • Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he would not stand as an MP as he believes he is better placed to ensure a hard Brexit in Brussels

Live updates

Labour MP: 'Election is not about changing Government'

Labour MP Helen Goodman has claimed the General Election on June 8 is "not about changing the Government".

In an interview with ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand, the MP for Bishop Auckland defended her assumption and said the poll is about preventing "dissent in this country."

She said: "I don't think that this election is about changing the Government.

"I think this election is about preventing the Tories from getting such an overwhelming majority that there is no possibility of dissent in this country."

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Corbyn hits back at low opinion poll ratings with 'mic drop'

Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at claims he has little chance of becoming prime minister, saying he overcame 200-1 odds on being Labour leader.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener questioned Mr Corbyn on his response to poor opinion poll ratings at the outset of a campaign he insists his party can win.

"You very helpfully mentioned the opinion polls, and I'm really grateful to you for that," Mr Corbyn replied, prompting laughter among his supporters.

"All I can say is, in 2015 almost exactly two years ago I was given 200-1 as an outside chance," he added before leaving the stage to cheers.

Taking his place at the podium, Labour MP Dawn Butler told the crowd: "I think that's what my young people in Brent would call a mic drop!"

Former Corbyn ally 'switches from Labour to Lib Dems'

Bob Marshall-Andrews told The Times he had left Labour with a 'heavy heart'. Credit: PA

A former Labour MP once seen as a close ally to Jeremy Corbyn has launched a stinging attack on the party leadership as he reportedly defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Bob Marshall-Andrews condemned the "abject failure of the Labour leadership" in arguing against Brexit during the EU referendum and said his former party had become a "political basket case".

The barrister, who represented Labour in Medway from 1997 to 2010 and sat in a socialist group of MPs alongside Mr Corbyn, confirmed his switch in allegiance on Wednesday night, The Times reported.

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May and Corbyn start to draw up election battle lines

Theresa May began making overtures to voters with the argument she is a safe pair of hands while Labour looks set to launch a traditional leftist campaign.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston argued that the Conservatives have a more "straightforward" pitch in the upcoming General Election as the only party who can be trusted to take the UK out of the EU on terms they like.

Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn looks set to return to Old Labour territory with the argument that Mrs May's party does not stand for the interests of the working majority.

May and Corbyn hit campaign trail as MPs back election

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn headed straight onto the campaign trail to key target seats after MPs overwhelming backed June's General Election.

Earlier on Wednesday, the two leaders went head to head in the House of Commons, setting out the main battle lines for the weeks ahead.

The prime minister said it was about who could lead the country to a successful Brexit deal, while Mr Corbyn accused the Government of continually breaking promises.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston reports on the start of campaigning:

May puts forward case for 'strong and stable' Britain

Theresa May speaking in Bolton Credit: ITV News

Theresa May put forward her case for "strong and stable leadership" in her first election campaign speech since MPs voted in favour of a General Election.

She appealed to voters to "give me the mandate I need to lead Britain, give me the mandate to speak for Britain, give me the mandate to fight for Britain and give me the mandate to deliver for Britain".

She said she's going to "fight a positive and optimistic campaign".

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