NEWS

MPs Overwhelmingly Vote For Snap General Election 2017 On June 8

Parliament approves Theresa May request for early poll.

19/04/2017 11:47 PM AEST | Updated 19/04/2017 11:57 PM AEST

A general election will take place on June 8, after MPs overwhelmingly voted in favour of giving Theresa May the authority to call a snap poll.

The prime minister shocked Westminster on Tuesday with the surprise announcement that she would seek an early election.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act passed by the coalition government, May had to win the backing two thirds of MPs to bring the date of the 2020 election forward to this year.

The vote in parliament this afternoon was passed by 522 to 13 a majority of 509.

The majority of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of an early election. SNP MPs abstained.

May told the Commons an election was necessary to ensure “stability and certainty” for the country. “Now is the time for a general election because it will strengthen our hand in negotiations on Brexit,” she said.

The prime minister also said holding an election now was needed in order to push the following election back until 2022.

“Leaving the election until 2020, we would be coming to the most sensitive and critical part of the negotiations in the run up to a general election and that would be in nobody’s interest,” she told MPs.

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Jeremy Corbyn says Labour 'welcome' a general election.

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour “welcome the opportunity of a general election” and urged his MPs to vote in favour.

The Labour leader said it was a “chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interest of the majority first”.

“The election gives the British people the chance to change direction. This election is about her government’s failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority; it is about the crisis her government has plunged our NHS into; the cuts to our children’s schools which will limit the chances of every child in Britain – four million of whom now live in poverty.”

May had repeatedly ruled out seeking to hold a snap election. And justifying her change of mind, she has argued a vote is needed as opposition parties were trying to “frustrate” Brexit.

But the prime minister was accused of succumbing to political opportunism by many in the Commons - given the commanding poll lead the Conservative Party holds over Labour.

A YouGov survey for The Times on Monday gave the Conservatives a huge 21 point lead over Labour. The survey showed the Tories on 44% with Labour trailing on just 23%. It is Labour’s worst position in a YouGov poll since 2009. 

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Lib Dem leader Tim Farron says only his party can stop Theresa May winning the election.

Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said May had u-turned on her promise not to hold an election due to the “woefully unelectable state of the Labour Party”.

SNP MPs abstained on the vote. Robertson said his party would “not vote with the Tories” in their wish for an election. But added: “Given the reality the Labour Party is going to be voting with the Tories, there will be a general election, and boy we look forward to that.”

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, who is hoping to pick up seats in June by winning over Remain voters to the party, said it was “nonsense” for May to argue she wanted an election to give her a mandate for Brexit negotiations. 

He said May simply sensed the chance to secure a majority of 100 MPs or more. “She has chosen this election because she looked across the Despatch Box and she could not resist the temptation of doing the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby and facing a Labour Party in a general election,” Farron said.

“She expects a coronation and not a contest. That is why the Lib Dem relish the challenge of a general election. There is only one route to the prime minister losing a general election and it is a Lib Dem route.”

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