British Parliament backs PM's call for June general election over 'Brexit'

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday defended her decision to call an early election for June, saying it would strengthen the government's hand in negotiations to leave the European Union.

The majority of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs voted in favour of an early election.

As the measure does not need approval from the House of Lords, the process of dissolving parliament next month in advance of the election will get underway.

Mrs May surprised allies and opponents on Tuesday when she announced her plan to bring forward an election that was not due until 2020, saying she needed to avoid a clash of priorities in the sensitive final stages of the two-year Brexit talks, reported Reuters. "They're quite right I don't", he said in extracts of his speech released beforehand.

For voters in Britain, this snap election will be the third time they've been to the polls in three years.

The gap before talks begin in earnest in June gave her a "window of opportunity" to strengthen her hand by improving her slim 17-seat majority and pushing the next election date back to 2022, by which time the United Kingdom should have long ago left the EU.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats leader, told the Commons May is calling an election now because, having looked at the state of Labour, she could not resist the political equivalent of taking candy from a baby. Elections are now set for 2020, just a year after the scheduled completion of Brexit talks.

Tory MPs have been told to send in their artwork for their leaflets by today to ensure that they can be printed in time for the general election, according to the Telegraph.

There is still a lot to be done on an European Union level as regards the negotiation guidelines, as the European Union awaits 29 April Summit for draft negotiating guidelines approval. Both May and the European Commission have said that negotiations will only start in earnest after the poll.

Currently, the Conservative Party has a narrow majority of 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

May enjoys a runaway lead in opinion polls over the main opposition Labour Party, and the British economy has so far defied predictions of a slowdown, offering her a strong base to launch a poll some lawmakers described as "opportunistic".

By contrast, Labour has struggled to form a strategy over Brexit, while Corbyn's left-wing leadership is opposed by many of his more centrist MPs.

A still image from a video footage shows Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addressing the House of Commons in central London April 19, 2017.

"Because when we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win", he will say.

No details have yet been released but the debate is expected to take place in early May and hosted by ITV newsreader Julie Etchingham.

Jeremy Corbyn accused the Conservatives of presiding over falling incomes, a struggling health service, cuts to school funding and rising child poverty, and asked: "If the Prime Minister is so proud of her record, why will she not debate it?"

  • Elsie Buchanan