MPs back Theresa May’s call for snap general election
The House of Commons voted for an early election by 522 votes to 13 - a majority of 509.
May raised a motion calling for a poll in the House of Commons on Wednesday. She made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek an early election less than halfway through her government’s five year-term.
She said an election was needed to prevent opposition parties at Westminster “frustrating” the Brexit process and provide long-term “certainty and stability.”
The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be held earlier if two-thirds of MPs back the move. May has repeatedly said since becoming PM in July that she would not hold an early election.
Speaking at the Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the prospect of an election but suggested May’s U-turn on the issue proved she could “not be trusted.”
The Tories’ record was one of falling wages, rising debt, increasing child poverty and an NHS that was in a “year-round crisis,” Corbyn said.
He challenged her to defend her record by taking part in TV debates, which she has so far refused to do.
May responded by saying she is “very proud” of her government’s achievements, including delivering record levels of employment and spending more money on the health service than ever before.
“We will be fighting for every vote, while the right honorable gentleman [Corbyn] would bankrupt our economy, weaken our defences and is simply not fit to lead.”
She accused opposition MPs of trying to thwart the Brexit process.
“What the people of the United Kingdom voted for last year was for the UK to leave the European Union. We must set that process in motion, there is no turning back.
“But it is clear from the statements that have been made by the Scottish nationalists and others that they do want to use this House to try to frustrate that process. I will be asking the British people for a mandate to complete Brexit and make a success of it.”
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats leader, told the Commons May is calling an election now because, having looked at the state of Labour, she could not resist the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby.