NORTH West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse has praised "brave" Theresa May over her plans to call a snap general election.

The Tory politician has described the Prime Minister's shock announcement, made outside 10 Downing Street this morning, as a "good decision".

He said: "I think this is a good decision by a brave Prime Minister.

"Theresa May wants to go into the Brexit negotiations with as strong a mandate as possible, so seeking a firm endorsement from the British people is exactly the right thing to do.”

Mrs May stunned the country with the announcement this morning, which was made following a cabinet meeting.

The Prime Minister had repeatedly denied that she would call an election before the next scheduled poll in 2020.

But following this morning's cabinet meeting, held at Downing Street, she she announced her plan to call a snap vote, scheduled for June 8.

Mrs May will now need the support of two-thirds of MPs, who will vote on the issue on Wednesday.

The move takes place against the backdrop of the country's decision to leave the European Union in last year's referendum.

Justifying the decision, Mrs May said: "Last summer, after the country voted to leave the European Union, Britain needed certainty, stability and strong leadership, and since I became prime minister the government has delivered precisely that.

"And as we look to the future, the Government has the right plan for negotiating our new relationship with Europe.

"We want a deep and special partnership between a strong and successful European Union and a United Kingdom that is free to chart its own way in the world.

"That means we will regain control of our own money, our own laws and our own borders and we will be free to strike trade deals with old friends and new partners all around the world.

"This is the right approach, and it is in the national interest. But the other political parties oppose it.

"At this moment of enormous national significance there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division.

"The country is coming together, but Westminster is not."