Labour is getting crushed in the opinion polls

"We understand that, in the immediate run-up to an election, signalling a willingness to work with other parties might be hard but we hope you'll agree that the times we are living in require leaders to be courageous and visionary, to actively build a more positive politics", the pair said in an open letter to the Labour and Lib Dem leaders.

She said: "Again you're trying to draw me into what's going to be in the manifesto".

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out backing a second referendum on the final Brexit deal achieved after withdrawal negotiations with the European Union.

Theresa May announced on Tuesday that she has plans to hold a general election on the 8 June, MPs are expected to back this in a vote on Wednesday.

In her first campaign visit, to a Labour marginal in Bolton, the Prime Minister told an invited audience: "There's a very clear choice at this election". Only Labour or the Tories can win this election and voting Labour is the only way to remove Theresa May from office.

It wasn't just the opposition that criticised the Prime Minister, with the SNP's Angus Robertson attacking her refusal to participate in TV debates in the run-up to the election.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said his party was "relishing the prospect of this election".

A general email sent out by the party headquarters said that "due to the exceptional snap General Election circumstances" local party members would not be able to select all their candidates.

The Leader of the Opposition welcomed the move and he and other MPs prepare to hit the campaign trail today (April 20). Seven years of broken promises show us that: on wages, the deficit, the NHS, our schools, our environment.

Ms Thornberry played down the significance of Mr Woodcock's comments: "John Woodcock doesn't have to worry because he doesn't have to vote for Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, so I don't really understand what he's talking about".

A spokesperson later said Corbyn would not back a second referendum.

Railing against wealthy elites and big business, the left-wing leader said he would not play by the rules "set by failed political and corporate elites" and would defy expectations. "That is the difference between Labour and the Tories".

Labour had been urged not to contest the seat but Mr Corbyn insisted on standing a candidate.

Emerging from a meeting of Labour's ruling national executive later, Jeremy Corbyn ruled out any deal with the SNP. The SNP all but wiped out Labour in Scotland, one of its traditional heartlands, in 2015 and is predicted to hang on to much of the gains.

"The SNP wants to break up the United Kingdom; it has no interest in making it work better".

In a speech in London, he will say that Labour will fight on behalf of Britain's "true wealth creators" and overturn a "rigged system" which favours rich individuals and businesses.

But he will insist: "Things can and they will change".

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