UK Parliament approves Prime Minister's early election call

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.

Earlier, MPs voted 522 to 13 in favour of an early General Election - giving Mrs May the support of two-thirds of MPs required to dissolve Parliament. Opinion polls give them a big lead over the Labour opposition, and May is gambling that an election will deliver her a personal mandate from voters and produce a bigger Conservative majority in Parliament.

Her predecessor David Cameron agreed to be questioned in front of a BBC Question Time-style audience for live television programmes during the 2015 general election.

The election announcement caused a rally in the pound, which had fallen since the Brexit vote, amid speculation that May will be returned with a stronger mandate.

Labour has said it will back the government on Brexit as long as certain conditions are respected, such as retaining strong economic ties with the European Union and defending workers' and environmental rights.

Certainly it would help May tremendously if she could go into the negotiations with her own democratic mandate.

She says an early election would provide "certainty and stability" in the negotiations, which will now start after the vote. "Because when we win, it's the people, not the powerful, who win", he will say.

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. We have set that process in motion, there is no turning back.

There have been calls for TV broadcasters to "empty chair" Mrs May in the debates if she refuses to take part.

May's Conservatives now hold 330 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

While promising to run a "positive and optimistic campaign", she said the choice at the election was between her "strong and stable leadership" or a "coalition of chaos" led by Mr Corbyn. Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May.

In her speech on Tuesday at the door of 10 Downing Street, May made it clear why she wanted an early election.

I say ironic because May so far has been advocating a hard Brexit but the reason she might get a softer Brexit out of this is because she will no longer be as dependent on some of the hard-line, pro-Brexit MPs so she will have more flexibility when it comes to negotiations with Brussels. "The country is together, Westminster is not", she said.

In Bolton, Mrs May said the country now has a "unity of purpose" and a desire for the Government to "get on" with implementing Brexit and "making a success of it".

There has been widespread public support for Monday's decision, while political experts have given mixed responses.

The UK prime minister, who until very recently opposed holding a referendum, said that the vote is necessary to strengthen her position at the Brexit negotiating table.

"Scottish Labour will be putting forward a positive vision for a fairer United Kingdom that rejects both the Tories' plans for a hard Brexit and the SNP's plans for a divisive second independence referendum".

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