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United Kingdom parliament clears mid-term 'Brexit poll'

21 April 2017

British lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved British Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for an early general election to be held on June 8.

May said the election is needed to stabilize her Conservative Party and the British government ahead of negotiations to leave the European Union.

The opposition Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats welcomed May's surprise call on April 18 for the early poll, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) signaled that its deputies would abstain in the vote.

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.

"That's what this is about, it's about asking the people to trust me, to trust us in government, to give us that mandate to go and get that really good deal for the United Kingdom".

Opening a Commons debate on the election motion the Prime Minister told MPs it was time to "put our fate in the hands of the people and let the people decide" and that her party would provide "strong and stable leadership in the national interest".

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

On the issue of TV debates, Robertson asked: "Can the prime minister tell the people why she's running scared of a televised debate with Nicola Sturgeon?" She made an unexpected announcement on Tuesday that she would seek an early election less than halfway through her government's five year-term.

Labour's chances of winning the general election are looking slim after a YouGov poll gave the Conservatives a 24 point lead.

Labour faces criticism that its stand on Brexit is not clear enough.

"That's what I have always believed in, it's what I still believe and I still do it- as Prime Minister, as a constituency MP, I still go out and knock on doors in my constituency".

He said: "I think she had little choice because so many parliamentarians have not accepted the referendum result and are seeking to reduce her ability to secure a good deal for Britain - and really I think in the hope of forcing a change of mind from the British public".

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Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that, for Ms May, calling the election is "the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby".

Mr Juncker had spoken to Mrs May on Tuesday after her call for early elections.

Also yesterday, it emerged Mrs May is likely to take part in a question and answer session in front of a television audience before the general election after she was heavily criticised by her opponents for refusing to debate with them.

"Because Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave, it's about negotiating the deal, about getting the right deal from Europe".

Rather than Corbyn, the biggest challenge is likely to come from the Liberal Democrats, the pro-EU party that was nearly wiped out at the last election in 2015 after serving for five years in a coalition government led by May's predecessor. She now needed a mandate from the voters, and the election would give her one, she said.

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United Kingdom parliament clears mid-term 'Brexit poll'