Theresa May has said she wants to hold a general election on 8 June this year - despite repeatedly saying she would not call a snap election.
In a speech on the steps of Downing Street on Tuesday morning, the prime minister said an election was needed to “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”.
She added: “We need a general election and we need one now.”
The move was branded “an extraordinary U-turn” by Nicola Sturgeon, who said it was “a huge political miscalculation”.
An election had not been due until 2020 - and May said herself repeatedly that was when the next vote would be.
1. ‘There should be no general election until 2020.’
In her speech announcing her leadership bid in June 2016, May made this clear.
It was part of her three-point manifesto for why she should be Tory leader after David Cameron’s resignation post-EU referendum, along with promising strong leadership and vowing to ensure that “Brexit means Brexit”.
2. ‘I’m not going to be calling a snap election.’
(Watch from 14:15)
Speaking in September 2016 in her first high profile interview since taking office, May told Andrew Marr that the country needed a “period of stability” following the Brexit vote.
She added: “I don’t think there’s a need for an election. I think the next election will be in 2020.”
3. ‘It’s right that the next general election is in 2020.’
In an interview with the Sunday Times in October 2016, May was asked about the possibility of an early election.
She said: “I think it’s right that the next general election is in 2020.
“This isn’t about political games, it’s about what is right for the country.
“I think an early general election would introduce a note of instability for people.”
4. A snap election is not something the PM ‘plans to do or wishes to do’
Former Tory leader William Hague called for an election in early March this year but this was rejected by Downing Street.
A source told the BBC that a snap election was not something May “plans to do or wishes to do”.
5. ‘It’s not going to happen.’
Not even a month ago, the PM’s official spokesman ruled out a snap election.
He said: “There is no change in our position on an early general election – there isn’t going to be one.
“It’s not going to happen.”
When asked why the Prime Minister did not wish to seek her own mandate to lead the UK, he replied: “There’s a Fixed Term Parliament Act.
“We have been clear that there’s not going to be an early general election and the Prime Minister is getting on with delivering the will of the British people.”
Justifying her change of mind on Tuesday morning, May said an election was the “only way to guarantee certainty and stability for the years ahead” as the Brexit process begins.
She said: “The country is coming together but Westminster is not. Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach. The Lib Dems have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill. Unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.”