Labour Party leader and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called an election for the 6th May.
Claiming that it ‘will come as no surprise, but the Queen has agreed to a dissolution of parliament and the election will take place on 6th May'.
He said: “Britain is now on the way to economic recovery, and now is not the time to put it at risk. Over the next few months we face big challenges and big decisions upon which our future success depends."
He also asked for a mandate to ‘renew our public life and the publics trust', and said: “Faith in our democracy has been rightly shaken by recent events. I will set out a comprehensive plan to forge a new contract between those who serve and the people they are sworn to serve." He concluded by saying to the British people 'our cause is your cause. The future is ours to win - now let's get to it'.
Conservative Party leader David Cameron said that the election was ‘about the future of economy, it's about the future of our society, it's about the future of our country, and it is the most important general election for a generation.'
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said that it would be a ‘huge, huge election'. He said: “It is a very exciting opportunity for everyone in Britain who wants fairness, who wants real change, this isn't the old politics of the two horse race between a Labour and Conservative party, the real choice is between the old politics of Labour and Conservatives, and something different something new – and that is what we offer.”
The announcement of the election puts several pieces of government legislation into jeopardy, notably the Digital Economy Bill, and also the plan to introduce free laptops and broadband access for 270,000 low-income families.
Regarding the Digital Economy Bill, the Open Rights Group claimed that ‘with all its myriad problems' the bill will be voted on its second reading and will be pushed through 'wash-up' and become law without full scrutiny.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said: “This bill is the victim of one of the worst lobbying scandals of this Parliament. Parliamentary scrutiny must be applied. The sheer level of interference from lobbyists demands MPs do their job – or drop the controversial clauses.
“Over 20,000 voters have written to MPs and raised funds for adverts, because we know disconnection of families for allegations of copyright infringement is a draconian punishment, and needs to be fully debated, not rammed through at the last minute.” It has been confirmed that the debate on the Digital Economy Bill will take place this afternoon.
Plans for mandatory identity cards will also come under the spotlight. Cameron declared he would ‘get rid of' them in a rare mention since former Home Secretary David Blunkett said that the government should scrap plans to introduce ID cards for all in favour of mandatory biometric passports at last year's Infosec show.
In other election news, Channel 4 News technology correspondent Benjamin Cohen reported that a Labour official appears to have distributed Gordon Brown's personal email to journalists, while the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said that the Tories had added almost half a million email addresses and have bought 1,500 Google adwords relating to the election.