European Union negotiations won't really get underway until Autumn, so this is seen as the last chance for May to call an election before formal proceedings begin.
Didn't the PM say she wouldn't do this? While elections must be held at least every five years according to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, the prime minister can call for an election at any time.
"Opponents believe that because the government's majority is so small they can force us to change course".
The move stunned Westminster, as Mrs May and Number 10 have repeatedly insisted she would not seek a general election before the scheduled 2020 poll. The reasons were simple.
The Royal College of Midwives also called for promise to invest in NHS in response to the general election announcement.
They didn't want the unpredictability of an election race. If the findings of recent polls are borne out, Labour could lose 59 seats and be left with just 173 MPs - the party's lowest tally since 1935.
Speaking in Downing Street she said: "At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity in Westminster, but instead there is division". But the relentless political logic proved too tempting to hold to all of that.
Army says 1 dead, 2 injured in golf course helicopter crash
Army investigators were driving around the course in golf carts Monday evening, placing evidence markers near pieces of debris. Witnesses said pieces off the helicopter were falling off, but there is no report of fire at this time.
In London, former Cabinet ministers Vince Cable and Ed Davey are putting themselves forward as candidates, while the party's former deputy leader Simon Hughes will stand in his former constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark. And the decision facing the country will be all about leadership.
May cited the government's divide as her rationale, as the prime minister is pursuing a larger mandate on last year's Brexit referendum.
Here's all you need to know about the election, including what needs to happen next. In recent weeks Labour have threatened to vote against the final agreement we reach with the European Union, the Liberal Democrats have said they want to grind the business of government to a standstill, the SNP say they will vote against the legislation that formally repeals Britain's membership of the European Union and unelected members of the House of Lords have vowed to fight us every step of the way.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she would be fighting the election "to win". But, after thinking "long and hard" during a walking holiday in Wales, decided it was necessary to try to stop the opposition "jeopardising" her work on Brexit.
Brussels, which seemed content to twiddle its thumbs and keep Britain paying into the European Union budget for as long as possible, is now the side facing greater political uncertainty. If you want a Britain that is open, tolerant and united, this is your chance.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, will hope to woo disappointed pro-EU voters with their clear anti-Brexit stance.
Sterling rose to a four-month high against the USA dollar after the market bet that May would strengthen her parliamentary majority, which Deutsche Bank said would be a "game-changer" for the pound.
Advisers have welcomed Theresa May's announcement of a snap election, with some commenting it will add strength to Britain during the Brexit negotiations.