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Campaign begins as UK MPs vote for early election
March 23 2018, 10:48 | Irvin Gilbert
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday an early election would strengthen her at the "most crucial point" in Britain's divorce talks with the European Union, as she prepared to ask parliament to approve a vote in just seven weeks' time.
Lawmakers voted Wednesday by a resounding 522 to 13 to back May's call for an election, easily surpassing the two-thirds majority in the 650-seat House of Commons needed to trigger an early vote.
"There should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division", May said Tuesday, according to CNN.
The opposition Labour Party and Liberal Democrats say they welcome the chance to put their policies to voters, though the Scottish National Party says the election call is a cynical ploy.
Mrs May also told The Sun newspaper of her concern that the May 2020 election date laid down by the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act would leave her open to pressure from Brussels as the two-year withdrawal negotiations drew to a close in March 2019. "It's about. getting the right deal from Europe".
Cooper said: "The Prime Minister said yesterday that she was calling a General Election because Parliament was blocking Brexit".
Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry, the two Nationalist MPs who resigned the SNP whip following separate police investigations, were among the MPs to vote against an election.
In an interview with the BBC later, he hinted that in his new role, he could become a thorn in the side of Theresa May, who sacked him when she became prime minister.
Mrs May insisted she will be out campaigning and promoting the Government's record to voters as well as her plans to "make Brexit a success and build a stronger Britain for the future".
Mrs May could also be ready to ditch promises made in David Cameron's 2015 general election manifesto, such as the commitment to spending 0.7% of national income on foreign aid.
"The UK elections do not change our EU27 plans", Preben Aamann, a spokesperson for European Council President Donald Tusk, said in a statement on Tuesday.
Riding high in the opinion polls, May is seeking to increase her slim majority of 17 in the 650-seat Commons before the battles begin with the European Union over Britain's exit bill and future trade and immigration ties. "Whether the election will contribute to stability remains to be seen", Timms said.
He said: "Theresa May's message is a very palpable one, that she needs the strongest possible hand and mandate to negotiate the strongest possible Brexit".
There were passionate exchanges during Prime Minister's Question Time.
Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, returned to the same issue, saying: "The British people deserve to hear the party leaders set out their plans and debate them publicly".
Rather than Corbyn, the biggest challenge is likely to come from the Liberal Democrats, the pro-EU party that was nearly wiped out at the last election in 2015 after serving for five years in a coalition government led by May's predecessor.