UK parliament approves June 8 general election

Prime Minister Theresa May’s surprise call for June elections approved 522 to 13 by British members of parliament.

The UK parliament has voted in favour of Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for an early general election.

The parliament on Wednesday voted 522 to 13 in favour of the election taking place on June 8.

On Tuesday, May called for a snap election in a surprise announcement as Britain prepares for delicate negotiations on leaving the European Union. 

Theresa May announces plan for UK election on June 8

She said that holding an election in June, rather than as scheduled in 2020, will give the country “certainty and stability” as it negotiates its departure from the EU.

“I believe that at this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster, not division,” May told the parliament.

“A general election will provide the country with five years of strong and stable leadership to see us through the negotiations and ensure we are able to go on to make a success as a result, and that is crucial.”

May’s Conservatives currently hold 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. The opposition Labour Party and Liberal Democrats welcomed the chance to put their policies to voters, though the Scottish National Party called the election a cynical political ploy.

Following the election decision, the parliament will be dissolved on May 2. 

Al Jazeera’s Barnaby Phillips, reporting from Westminster in London, said there was a lot of stake for the Labour party in the election.

“The future of its leader Jeremy Corbyn is also at stake,” he said.

“He’s very unpopular with his own members of parliament and that’s been a very awkward and difficult relationship.”

READ MORE: Brexit plans unchanged by UK snap election call, says EU

May became prime minister without winning an election in July last year following the resignation of David Cameron after millions of Britons went against his advice and voted to leave the EU.

She had also backed the Remain camp in the June 23 referendum, but kept a low profile throughout a polarising campaign.

The British PM dismissed criticism of her move to send voters back to polling booths for the third time in two years, after a May 2015 national election and a June 2016 referendum on EU membership,

“Brexit isn’t just about the letter that says we want to leave. It’s about … getting the right deal from Europe,” she said.

The European Union, meanwhile, said it will stick to a timetable for preparing to launch Brexit negotiations with the UK despite the early general election.

“The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans,” Preben Aamann, a spokesman for European Council President Donald Tusk, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tusk will chair a summit of the other 27 EU national leaders in Brussels on April 29, where he expects them to agree negotiating guidelines he has proposed. 

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Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies