UK parliament votes on snap election in Brexit's shadow

In this image taken from video Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May standing right speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons in London

Praising MPs for backing her during a stump speech in the north-west of England, the PM said: "It's great to be here in Bolton, fresh from the House of Commons, fresh from winning a vote in the House of Commons, which has approved my decision to hold a general election on June 8".

The main opposition Labour Party welcomed May's election call, meaning that it is nearly a foregone conclusion that May will obtain the two thirds support she needs in the House of Commons for the election to be held.

The next general election had been expected in 2020, but the Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be held earlier if two-thirds of MPs back the move.

Speaking on Facebook, Nick Coyne said: "Let's see how her Brexit negotiations go first, then have an election". She said she was confident of reaching a deal in that time frame.

Britain's next national election is now scheduled for 2020, a year after the scheduled completion of two years of European Union exit talks.

May, who took office in July after an internal Conservative Party leadership race, wants the election to increase her majority in Parliament and consolidate her power as she faces both pro-EU opposition politicians and hard-core Brexit-backers inside her own party.

Last month, May formally began the two-year divorce talks with the European Union and laid out her hope that her government can settle the exit terms alongside talks on what the new relationship with the European Union will be.

"Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for those who want to stop me from getting the job done", May told a rowdy lower house during her weekly question and answer session.

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On 29 April EU government leaders will meet to discuss guidelines proposed last month by Donald Tusk, who heads the European Council.

Speaking in defence of the measure, Mrs May told the assembled MPs that the remaining time before the Brexit negotiations in June was a "window of opportunity" to poll the public mood and provide the "strong leadership" she argued was necessary during the negotiations and it was the "right and responsible" thing to do hold the election now in order to provide "five years of stability and certainty" whilst preparing the United Kingdom for life outside the EU.

The vote was required by law, but her motion to hold the election was carried with broad support from across the House of Commons. 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.

Fifty per cent said they would vote Conservative, 25pc Labour, 11pc Liberal Democrats, 4pc Ukip and 68pc said they would vote the same as they did in the previous election. There won't be a scheduled British general election until June 2022, eliminating the risk of an election campaign disrupting the Brexit talks.

The Daily Mail on Wednesday ran the story of her election call under the front page headline "Crush the saboteurs".

Eloise Todd, director of the Best for Britain campaign, said the movement will support different parties and organisations, adding: "We are not party political".

Political leaders' TV debates featured in the last two general elections, in 2010 and 2015.

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