UKIP says Theresa May's general election move is cynical

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The leader of the UK Independence Party says the PM's call for an early general election is a "cynical decision" motivated by the "weakness" of Labour.

Paul Nuttall said he welcomed Theresa May's announcement and would take UKIP's "positive message to the country".

He also suggested ex-leader Nigel Farage could stand for the party.

MPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to approve Mrs May's call for a general election on 8 June.

UKIP no longer have any MPs after Douglas Carswell - who had defected from the Tories - left the party.

He has refused to trigger a by-election, and party donor Arron Banks confirmed on Twitter he planned to stand against Mr Carswell in Clacton at the general election.

Media caption,
UKIP deputy leader Peter Whittle on general election timing and his party's chances

Mr Nuttall, who came second behind Labour in the Stoke Central Parliamentary by-election in February, said Mrs May could also have been motivated by the prospect of by-elections caused by controversy over electoral spending rules.

He added: "We are in the midst of Brexit negotiations so this election will provide a perfect opportunity for the 52% to vote for UKIP, the only party wholeheartedly committed to a clean quick and efficient Brexit."

Mr Nuttall told Channel 4 News he "suspected" former leader Nigel Farage would stand for the party on 8 June.