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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06 2010 11:09 GMT

In pics: PM announces election

Prime Minister Gordon Brown, surrounded by his cabinet

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced that the next general election in the UK will be held on 6 May 2010.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown leaving Downing St for Buckingham Palace

Before he could do this, he had to go to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen to "dissolve" parliament.

Houses of Parliament, Westminster

A parliament can last up to five years but if the Prime Minister wants to call an election before the end of the five years they have to ask the King or Queen to 'dissolve' or end it, early.

Queen Elizabeth II

Even though the PM is head of the government, the monarch is Head of State in the UK and technically, the government acts on his or her behalf.

Conservative Party leader David Cameron

Britain's Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, will begin his official election campaign today. The Conservative Party haven't been in government for 13 years.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg spoke to his party workers and said the election wouldn't simply be a two-way fight between Labour and the Conservatives.