UK lawmakers overwhelmingly back June election

Aaron Brown
April 23, 2017

The majority of 509 votes gives UK Prime Minister Theresa May her two-thirds majority, which is required to call an election under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.

May, who had taken charge as Prime Minister just weeks after Britain's voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, had repeatedly dismissed the idea of an early election.

And with the support of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats the Prime Minister was easily able to secure more than the 434 votes she needed as the SNP abstained.

"What she doesn't have is a Parliament that would vote for Brexit at any cost".

Mr Corbyn said the election "gives the British people the chance to vote for a Labour government that will put the interests of the majority first".

Several Labour lawmakers told The Guardian they felt their leader was too hasty in supporting a snap election based on Mrs May's terms and in a climate of national instability because of Brexit.

"I hope the voters will deliver a tough message to Brexiteers", said British Socialist MEP David Martin.

Opinion polls suggest May's Conservatives are enjoying a huge lead over Labour.

The snap election is the latest twist in a turbulent year in British politics, which was plunged into turmoil when the country unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union last year. May said that the pledge to spend 0.7% of national income on foreign aid would remain, following speculation that it would be scrapped in the Conservatives' election manifesto amid opposition from some law-makers and newspapers who said it should be spent at home instead. Labour faces criticism that its stand on Brexit is not clear enough.

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Under Britain's winner-takes-all electoral system, the party which wins a majority of the 650 seats in the Westminster parliament forms a government and the party leader is formally appointed prime minister by the queen.

"The president considers that the real political negotiations on article 50 with the United Kingdom will start after the elections foreseen for the 8th of June", Schinas told a press conference in Brussels.

She said: "I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election".

May ruled out participating in televised debates with other leaders.

The Prime Minister argued that opposition towards Brexit could prove disastrous for the negotiations, and future of the country and in light of that, she has chose to call for a general election.

Downing Street said the June election will not affect May's Brexit timetable.

May had previously said categorically that the next general election would be held as scheduled in 2020.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that broadcasters should hold debates anyway, with an empty chair in May's place.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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