Smart move by May?

MPs approve snap general election

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MPs approve Theresa May's call for an early general election

The clock has started: 49 days and counting until the shock General Election called by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The campaign is underway after MPs overwhelmingly voted to bring forward the election from 2020 to June 8.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, an election can be called earlier if it has two-thirds of support from MPs.

They voted 522 to 13, with over 100 MPs choosing to abstain from the vote - including the entirety of the SNP. Of the MPs who were in favour, 325 of which were Conservative and 174 were Labour; eight out of the nine Lib Dem MPs also supported the motion, with former party leader Nick Clegg not listed, according to the Independent.

Mrs May easily passed the 434 votes required to make her plan a reality.

Out of the 13 MPs who voted against the motion in the House of Commons, nine were from Labour.

According to the Mirror, they included one MP with a tiny majority and former shadow cabinet member Clive Lewis, who had to cancel his honeymoon.

They were joined by three independent MPs and SDLP member, Alasdair McDonnell.

Within hours of the Prime Minister calling the snap election, eight MPs announced that they were standing down, including Labour's Alan Johnson and former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. The Conservative MP for Tatton has faced criticism for the number of jobs he has taken while being a member of Parliament; he will be joining the Evening Standard as their new editor next month.

Labour's John Woodcock will not stand as a party candidate, but instead will run as an independent. He has represented Barrow since 2010, but said he cannot run under Labour while Jeremy Corbyn is leader. He said: “I cannot countenance endorsing him for a job that even he doesn’t think he is fit to carry out.”

Voters will go to the ballots on June 8 to elect their new government.

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