UK lawmakers back May's call for June election

  • UK lawmakers back May's call for June election

UK lawmakers back May's call for June election

The British parliament was expected on Wednesday to formally approve prime minister Theresa May's plan to hold an early election on 8 June she hopes will deliver a stronger personal mandate as she embarks on Brexit talks.

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

Theresa May kicked off seven weeks of campaigning on Wednesday with a promise of strong and stable leadership after MPs overwhelmingly backed her call for a general election on June 8th.

She said that waiting until 2020 would mean the "most sensitive" part of the two-year Brexit negotiations would come during the run-up to an election. "A general election will provide the country with five years of strong and stable leadership to see us through the negotiations and ensure we are able to go on to make a success as a result, and that is crucial".

"Now is the time for a general election because it will strengthen our hand in negotiations on Brexit", she said.

She claimed other parties had tried to stop her "getting the job done" and that she wanted a larger governing majority to "remove the risk of uncertainty and instability".

If May's plan is approved by Parliament, the election will be Britain's third general election in seven years, and it comes less than a year after the referendum that decided the United Kingdom would withdraw from the EU.

Riding high in the opinion polls, May is seeking to increase her slim majority of 17 in the 650-seat Commons before the battles begin with the European Union over Britain's exit bill and future trade and immigration ties. Elections are now set for 2020, just a year after the scheduled completion of Brexit talks.

May said that opponents were intent on "frustrating the Brexit process", even after Parliament authorized talks with the EU.

There is still a lot to be done on an European Union level as regards the negotiation guidelines, as the European Union awaits 29 April Summit for draft negotiating guidelines approval.

The Conservatives are set to gain 40 seats in June's snap general election to secure a majority of 90, according to betting market data.

The lawmakers approved the proposal, 522-13, after 90 minutes of debate to move the election up three years in a bid by the Conservative Party to expand its role in government and give better clout in negotiating Brexit.

In a taster of the campaign ahead, May traded barbs in the Commons with opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn - most likely for one of the last times before the election, after the prime minister ruled out attending any television debates.

"What the British people - what the people of the United Kingdom - voted for a year ago was for the UK to leave the European Union".

"The prime minister's attempt to dodge scrutiny shows how she holds the public in contempt", he said.

The hotly contested "Brexit" referendum ended with the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Cameron.

The election has already caused controversy, with the Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron refusing to say whether he believes gay sex is sinful.