POLITICIANS around the Borders have reacted to Theresa May's decision to call a snap general election.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister made the out of the blue announcement that a vote will take place as early as June 8.
Scottish Secretary and Tweeddale MP David Mundell announced he will be standing for re-election in June and suggested the election is needed to help stabilise the UK.
He told us: "We need strong and stable leadership as we negotiate to leave the EU and that’s why we must have a General Election.
“It will give the country certainty for a full five years, not just up to the point we leave the EU but beyond it.
“Without that strong and stable leadership, divisions at Westminster risk undermining our efforts to secure the best deal for Scotland and the whole of the UK just as the negotiations reach their most critical phase.
“Already the SNP are talking of voting against the legislation that will formally repeal our membership of the EU, Labour are threatening to vote against the final agreement, and the Lib Dems are saying they want to bring government to a standstill.
“The Nationalists are also continuing with their misguided demand for an independence referendum campaign – something most Scots do not want - at exactly the same time the UK is negotiating with the EU.
“I’m relishing the prospect of an election on June 8. I’m looking forward to campaigning hard across all parts of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, as I always have.
“When polling day comes, I’m confident the result will strengthen Theresa May’s hand - and send a powerful message of opposition to a second independence referendum."
But local SNP MSP Christine Grahame accused the Conservatives of "playing games" and said it has only been called to force through a hard Brexit.
The member for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale said: "In six weeks the UK will go to the polls again following one of the most extraordinary U-turns in recent political history.
"Just as they called an EU referendum to settle division within their own party, the Tories are once again putting party before country to strengthen the Prime Minister’s standing in her own party so she can force through a hard Brexit, which was resoundingly rejected by voters in the Borders.
"The SNP will fight this election by standing up for Scotland’s interests as always. But this is not an election that anyone needed to have right now – it is a Tory game."
Ms Grahame's SNP colleague Calum Kerr, MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk announced he will also stand again in June fro re-election.
He said: "To vote Tory in June is to endorse a hard Brexit and to provide the government with an unconstrained mandate.
"In holding the government to account on Brexit, it has become clear to me that the Prime Minister knows she is losing the argument and that she has called this election so that it is out of the way before the full impact of Brexit becomes clear.
"Since I was elected, I have fought first and foremost for the issues that matter most to my constituents.
"On the front bench at Westminster and in our local communities, I have stood up for the interests of the rural economy, taken forward the pressing issue of digital connectivity and worked with people of all parties, and none, on issues that matter to the Borders.
"I cannot overstate how much of an honour it has been to represent the people of Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk over the past two years.
"Given the immense challenges we face, there is no doubt in my mind that there is so much more work that needs to be done to protect the interests of the Borders. This is why I will be putting myself forward to be selected as a candidate for re-election on June 8."
But Conservative MSP Mr Lamont said the referendum would give Borderers the chance to get the best Brexit deal for Scotland.
He said: "I very much welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement and agree an election in June is necessary to secure the strong and stable leadership the UK needs to see us through Brexit and beyond.
"Voters in the Borders will have a clear choice between the SNP, who will use this campaign to try and manufacture a case for separation, and the Scottish Conservatives who will stand up for a strong government to get the best Brexit deal for Scotland.
"The Borders and the UK deserves a strong government, not the division and political game playing that the SNP and Labour are obsessed with."
Local Liberal Democrats told us they are the only "unequivocally pro-EU and pro-UK party" and are doing all they can to oppose nationalism and a hard Brexit.
John Ferry, chairman of the Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale Lib Dems, said: "When nationalism wins we all lose. A hard Brexit will do immense damage to Britain.
"And let’s not forget that in 2014 the nationalist movement here in Scotland was happy to trade our EU citizenship for the break up of the UK, and is agitating again for a separation policy that if carried out would hurt every single one of us.
"The Liberal Democrats are the only party putting forward a politics of reaching out instead of retreating in. Those willing to stand up to regressive nationalism need to vote for a Scotland secure in the UK and a Britain that is open, tolerant and united."