- Members of the UK Parliament voted to hold a general election in December.
- A general election is set to take place on Thursday, December 12.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson had asked MPs to pass a law overruling previous legislation preventing another election until 2022.
- Opposition parties backed the snap poll after the EU formally agreed to delay Brexit until January.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The United Kingdom will hold a general election on Thursday, December 12, after members of Parliament backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bid for a snap poll.
The House of Commons on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly by 438-20 to back a bill brought forward by Johnson to allow a pre-Christmas election to “refresh this parliament” and “break free from the impasse” on Brexit.
MPs had rejected three previous attempts by the prime minister to secure a general election because of fears he would use the election campaign period to take the UK out of the European Union without a deal.
However, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday that he was now willing to back an early general election after the EU formally agreed to delay Brexit until next year.
An attempt by opposition parties to move the date for the election three days forward to December 9 was defeated by the government.
After the passage of the bill, Corbyn described the coming election as a “once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back.”
He added: “The choice at this election could not be clearer. A Labour government will be on your side, while Boris Johnson’s Conservatives — who think they’re born to rule — will only look after the privileged few.”
Jo Swinson, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and will be standing on a manifesto to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50.”
Johnson’s election bill will now pass to the House of Lords, which by convention is unlikely to amend it after it has passed the Commons.
The victory for the prime minister came after he welcomed back 10 of the 21 Conservative MPs he expelled from the party last month.
Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes, Greg Clark, Nick Soames, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Stephen Hammond, Steve Brine, Richard Harrington, and Richard Benyon all had the Conservative whip restored on Tuesday after voting to prevent a no-deal Brexit last month.
The returning members all backed Johnson on votes on his Brexit bill last week. Other former MPs, including the former Conservative chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, have not been welcomed back.
Johnson’s path to a majority could be narrow
Johnson’s Conservative Party goes into the 2019 UK general election campaign as the favourites to emerge as the winners of the contest.
Recent opinion polls give them an average lead of 10 points over Labour. This is in large part because of Johnson’s success in uniting pro-Brexit voters behind his party, in contrast to the splintering of anti-Brexit voters between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
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However, polling experts suggest that he may struggle to win the parliamentary majority he seeks.
The UK’s leading elections expert, John Curtice, told LBC on Tuesday that smaller parties were expected to make big gains at the polls, potentially denying Johnson a majority.
He added that unlike in 2010, when the Conservatives secured a parliamentary majority thanks to the Liberal Democrats entering into a coalition, Johnson would struggle to find partners to prop up his government in another hung parliament.
“This is an asymmetric election,” he said.
“It’s an election that Boris Johnson has to win. If he does not get a majority or something very close to it, he will not be able to stay in government because the Conservatives do not have any friends elsewhere.
“The Labour Party, by contrast, at least has the possibility of doing a deal with the SNP, a deal with the Liberal Democrats, getting support of the Greens and maybe even the DUP not standing in their way.
“Bear in mind, this is not an election that Labour have to win to stop Brexit, but it is an election that they and the other opposition parties simply need to deny the Conservatives a majority.”
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