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Theresa May wins Commons backing for 8 June general election

15 Bangla Mirror desk

Theresa May has won the overwhelming backing of MPs for her decision to hold a general election on 8 June, saying it will secure “stability and

certainty” as Britain prepares to enter Brexit talks. MPs backed the government motion to hold a general election, with 522

voting in favour and 13 against, a majority of 509. It gives the prime minister the two-thirds majority she needed to overturn the Fixed-term

Parliaments Act, passed by the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition in 2011, without which no general election could have been held until 2020.

May had repeatedly said she had no plans to hold an early general election before surprising Westminster, including many of her own colleagues, by

announcing the 8 June poll on Tuesday. Parliament will be dissolved on 2 May and the formal election campaign

will begin.

Justifying the change of heart to MPs in the House of Commons shortly after prime minister’s questions on Wednesday, May said: “Today we face a

new question: how best to secure the stability and certainty we need over the long term in order to get the right deal for Britain in Brexit negotiations

and make the most of the opportunities ahead. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer to that question is to hold a general election now

in this window of opportunity before the negotiations begin. A general election is the best way to strengthen Britain’s hand in the negotiation.”

Opposition MPs criticised the move, accusing May of going back on repeated claims that she would not hold an early election, and of seeking to silence debate. The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “Britain is being held back by her

government. Most people are worse off than they were when the Conservatives came to power seven years ago, the election gives the British

people the chance to change direction.”

He added: “This election is about her government’s failure to rebuild the economy and living standards for the majority. It is about the crisis her

government has plunged the NHS into, the cuts to to our children’s schools which will limit chances of children, 4 million of whom live in poverty, a

chance of an alternative to raise living standards, as more and more people do not have security in their work or over their housing.”

The Scottish National party’s leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson, said: “For months we have heard from her that now is not the time for the public to vote, that no one wants it, that it is important to get on with the

day job, that nothing should get in the way. But now as we have all learned, all of that was empty rhetoric.”

He said the prime minister had called the election for two reasons: to “crush political opposition in England”; and because “it has finally dawned

on the UK government that the Brexit negotiations are going to be very,

very difficult”. Robertson asked how May could justify a general election in the UK when

she had rebuffed the Scottish government’s request for a second

independence referendum. May replied: “Now is the time for a general election because it will

strengthen our hand in the negotiations on Brexit. Now is not the time for a second referendum because that will weaken our hand in negotiations on

Brexit. Strength and unity with the Conservatives; division and weakness with Scottish nationalists.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Tim Farron, accused the prime minister of putting her party before her country. The vote was the first time the Fixed-term Parliaments Act has been tested.

It was meant to prevent governments calling elections at politically opportunistic moments – and to hold together the coalition between the

Conservatives and the Lib Dems. At PMQs, May had hinted at the Conservatives’ attack lines in the forthcoming campaign. She batted away questions from Labour

backbenchers about issues including schools funding and the NHS by repeating back to them their own comments about Corbyn during last summer’s leadership campaign.

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