UK parliament votes in favour of early national election

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There were also a number of abstentions.

The opposition Labour Party and Liberal Democrats welcomed the chance to put their policies to voters, though the Scottish National Party said the election call is a cynical ploy.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's spokesman said there would be no delay to negotiations, which the Commission's chief negotiator Michel Barnier has previously said would start in early June.

Since being fired by Theresa May, Osborne has earned lucrative speaking fees and taken on an advisory role for American investment giant Blackrock.

"She expects a coronation and not a contest", Farron said, urging voters to back his strongly pro-EU party to stop a Conservative landslide.

In total, 522 MPs chose to carry the motion while just 13 MPs voted against. And on Wednesday, MPs voted in favour of the snap election.

Just 13 MPs rejected the motion, including nine from Labour. Leaders of European Union states are due to adopt negotiating guidelines at an April 29 summit, and the bloc will prepare detailed plans for the talks with Britain by late May.

May's surprise decision to call an election on June 8 has raised speculation that her Conservative 2017 manifesto will abandon commitments not to raise the rate of value-added tax, income tax or the national insurance payroll tax in order to help reduce the budget deficit. Demmer said Wednesday: "The German government assumes that the negotiations can be continued without disruption".

"What has been billed as a "Brexit election" is an attempted power grab by the Tories, who wish to take advantage of a Labour party in seeming disarray to secure another five years of power before the reality of Brexit bites", Mr Verhofstadt wrote in The Observer.

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Mr Blair said he feared that winning a large majority would effectively hand Theresa May "a blank cheque for Brexit at any costs", which was not in the interests of the country.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's abrupt decision to call a snap general election has divided opinion in Europe, particularly at a time when Brexit talks were due to begin.

"Let's be clear - the 0.7pc remains, and will remain", she said.

Last year, polls failed to predict the passage of the referendum on Brexit and observers now caution that in seeking to strengthen her mandate, May also risks her political career, depending on whether voter attitudes change in the next seven weeks. "I hope the former will be the case".

With nearly seven weeks to go until the June 8 election, however, ComRes chairman Andrew Hawkins warned of the risk that Conservatives supporters may become complacent.

The pro-Brexit, right-wing newspapers portrayed her decision as an aggressive move to strengthen her hand in the talks with the 27 other European Union members and to crush her domestic opponents.

The Prime Minister argued that opposition towards Brexit could prove disastrous for the negotiations, and future of the country and in light of that, she has made a decision to call for a general election.

"But I wanted to be here, back in the constituency that has shaped me and guided me over the years, to explain why this election matters so much".

He believes the new UK Parliamentary timetable now fits well with the European Council's timetable of a two-year exit deal negotiation followed by a three-year transition phase.

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