MPs Back Plans For 8 June Poll

A UK general election will be held on 8 June after MPs backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for a snap poll.

The House of Commons backed the PM by a margin of 522 votes to 13, above the two-thirds majority needed, as Labour and the Lib Dems supported the move.

The PM has argued a fresh mandate would strengthen her hand in Brexit talks and provide certainty for the future.

Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the poll but accused the PM of changing her mind and breaking promises on a range of issues.

The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be held earlier if it has the support of two-thirds of MPs.

Mr Corbyn backed the move but suggested Mrs May’s word could no longer be trusted after she reversed her previous position on the issue. The SNP accused Mrs May of political opportunism but abstained in Wednesday’s vote.

Nine Labour MPs opposed the snap election as did three independents and the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell.

Although Parliament will not be officially dissolved until early May, campaigning is already under way – with Lib Dem leader Tim Farron addressing a rally of activists in south-west London earlier on Wednesday.

Mrs May has said she will not take part in any TV leaders’ debates, leading to criticism from Mr Corbyn and other party leaders that she is “running scared”.

As the Commons backed the General Election – which will be held just over two years after the Conservatives won a narrow victory in the May 2015 poll – senior politicians from all parties have been clarifying their intentions.

Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne said he would not be standing again in Tatton in order to concentrate on his job as editor of the Evening Standard, although he hinted at a possible return to frontline politics in the future.

But former Lib Dem deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has said he will stand in Sheffield Hallam, while it has been reported that Conservative grandee Ken Clarke will again contest Rushcliffe, a seat he has represented since 1970. He had previously said he intended to stand down in 2020.

Meanwhile, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee has confirmed that existing MPs who wish to stand again will be automatically selected and that any unsuccessful candidates from 2015 will be asked to put themselves forward. The NEC will directly fill any vacancies triggered by retirements.

In a statement, it said it regretted that local parties would not be able to select candidates as normal but it would be “simply impossible to hold trigger ballots, selection hustings and meetings in the 631 Parliamentary constituencies” before the 11 May deadline for nominations.

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