Legislators in the UK Parliament have signed off on holding a pre-Christmas general election following months of deadlock over Brexit.
MPs voted 438 to 20 on Tuesday in favour of a December 12 snap poll, which is set to take place just seven weeks before the United Kingdom is scheduled to depart the European Union on January 31.
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The election bill will now head to the House of Lords for consideration in Parliament’s upper-chamber, but it is unlikely to face any further significant opposition. It could then be officially passed into law by the end of this week, setting up the UK’s first December election since 1923.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously tried unsuccessfully to call a snap poll over the Brexit impasse three times.
He hopes an election will return a Conservative Party majority government so he can pass his recently-inked Brexit deal and take the UK out of the EU.
Johnson had repeatedly pledged to exit the bloc by October 31, the UK’s previous Brexit deadline, before being forced to request a three-month extension from Brussels after MPs blocked his attempt to rush the new withdrawal agreement through Parliament.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, has meanwhile described the poll as a “once in a generation chance” to transform the country and “take on the vested interests holding people back”.
“We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen,” Corbyn said in Parliament.
The General Election has just been called.
It’s time for real change. pic.twitter.com/aiUwhxm5K6
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 29, 2019
Jo Swinson, leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats party, also welcomed MPs’ decision to back the snap election.
“This general election will decide the future of our country for generations. It is our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit,” Swinson told MPs.
“The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and will be standing on a manifesto to stop Brexit by revoking article 50,” she added, referring to the exit clause within the Lisbon Treaty, the terms of which form the constitutional basis of the EU.