Parliament expected to back PM's bid for snap election

Houses of ParliamentHouses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
MPs will tomorrow be asked to vote on the Prime Minister's plans to hold a snap general election, with the motion expected to pass with ease despite Theresa May's repeated assertions she will not go to the country before 2020.

Mrs May needs the support of two thirds of MPs in order to plough ahead with plans for an election on June 8, but with both Labour and the Lib Dems confirming they will back her motion, tomorrow’s vote is largely seen as a formality.

The decision has nevertheless drawn fierce criticism from some MPs, who have described it as a “cynical move” from a Prime Minister who as recently as yesterday accused her opponents of political “game playing”.

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It has also been described as a sign of “chaos” in Tory ranks, following Mrs May’s insistence that her Government will provide stability during the difficult Brexit process.

Following the passage of Fixed Term Parliaments Act by the Coalition Government, the Prime Minister is required to seek Parliament’s permission in order to hold an election before the scheduled date of the next election.

This means Mrs May must secure the support of 434 MPs for her motion to pass, paving the way for the dissolution of Parliament on May 3.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has already announced that his party will back the measure, as has Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.

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Responding to Mrs May’s speech yesterday, Mr Corbyn said he “welcomed” the opportunity to show voters “how Labour will stand up for the people of Britain”.

However, a number of MPs have hit out at the Prime Minister’s surprise decision, including the Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey and Shadow Minister for Steel Gill Furniss.

Taking to Twitter, Ms Furniss described it as a “cynical move... after months of denying election”, while Mr Healey accused Mrs May of “[breaking] her word”.

Theresa May spent nine months saying she wouldn’t call a snap election... As always, the Tories are putting their own interests ahead of the country’s,” Mr Healey said. “Conservative Ministers have overseen seven years of failure and been sticking up for the wrong people.”

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Mrs May first ruled out the possibility of an early election during her leadership campaign last autumn. In her first interview as Prime Minister she argued that the country needed a period of “stability”, and just last month a Downing Street spokesman claimed there was “no change” in Mrs May’s position.

A number of senior Tory MPs and ministers came to her defence yesterday, describing her decision as “brave” and the “best way” to provide certainty during Brexit negotiations. In an interview with the BBC, David Davis denied Mrs May had broken her word, stating: “This is an incredibly conscientious prime minister who takes her duty to the national interest very seriously indeed.”