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LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond welcomed gains in sterling against the euro and the dollar on Tuesday following Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that she would hold an early election on June 8.
In a rare comment on the strength of Britain's currency - which tumbled after last year's Brexit vote - Hammond said Tuesday's gains showed markets were confident that the Conservative government would win an increased majority.
"The decision that the prime minister has made today is a decision made very much in the national interest to strengthen her hand as she goes into the negotiation with the European Union," Hammond told parliament.
"(The) prime minister's statement this morning has sent sterling up in the markets, demonstrating the confidence that the markets have in the future, for this country, under a Tory (Conservative) government with a new mandate," he added. (Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce)