The United Kingdom will now go to the polls to elect a new government on June 8
Theresa May has won the backing of Parliament for her plan to hold a snap general election on June 8.
The vote was required by law, but her motion to hold the election was carried with broad support from across the House of Commons.
Both Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and top Liberal Democrat Tim Farron backed the move, while Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP abstained.
MPs backed the motion by 522 votes to 13. This comfortably gives the PM her two-thirds majority, which is required to call an election under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.
Opening the 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”.
But Mr Corbyn said the Prime Minister’s U-turn showed she could not be trusted to run the country.
“The Prime Minister talks about a strong economy, but the truth is most people are worse off then they were when the Conservatives came to power seven years ago. The election gives the British people the chance to change direction,” he said.
“This election is about her Government’s failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority.”
The few MPs who voted against a general election were mostly Labour rebels, including Clive Lewis, Liz McInnes, and Dennis Skinner. Two former SNP independents, Natalie McGarry and Michelle Thompson also voted against, as did SDLP MP Dr Alasdair McDonnell.
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Aside from the main parties, those who voted in favour also included the eight Democratic Unionist Party MPs, three Plaid Cymru, two Ulster Unionist Party, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas and independent former Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who represents Rochdale.
The Prime Minister told the Commons: “We are determined to bring stability to the United Kingdom for the long term and that’s what this election will be about – leadership and stability.
“The decision facing the country will be clear. I will be campaigning for strong and stable leadership in the national interest with me as Prime Minister and I will be asking for the public’s support to continue to deliver my plan for a stronger Britain, to lead the country for the next five years and to give the certainty and stability that we need.”
MPs appeared to take great pleasure in interrupting the Prime Minister during the debate. One Labour member, Paul Farrelly, intervented to ask Ms May to “explain why she has such a loose and complicated relationship with telling the truth”. He was slapped down by the Speaker John Bercow and asked to “reformulate” his question, after which he accused the PM of having “such a complicated and loose relationship with giving the country a clear indication of her intentions”.
Ms May said she had given a clear indication of her intentions “yesterday”.
Some MPs raised the question of the CPS and police investigation into Conservative election expenses. The SNP’s Stewart Malcolm McDonald said the PM had “some brass neck to call a general election when you are facing allegations of buying the last one”. Ms May replied that the question was “not worthy of the honourable gentleman”.