London: British lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favour of a snap election in the UK, paving the way for holding polls on December 12, weeks before the country is set to depart from the European Union (EU) on January 31 next year.
Amid a political deadlock over Brexit, MPs voted in favour of a bill on the snap election by 438 votes to 20 in the House of Commons. The legislation will then be introduced in the House of Lords for approval following which the Parliament will be dissolved next week, CNN reported.
The unexpected development took place after opposition Labour Party supported the bill moved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“There is only one way to restore the esteem in which our democracy is held and to recover the respect in which Parliament should be held by the people of this country,” Johnson said ahead of the vote.
Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, said in a tweet, “It’s time for real change.”
Johnson has been batting for a snap election rather than attempting to get the Brexit deal passed in the Parliament, where his ruling Conservative Party government lacks a working majority.
Johnson has repeatedly said that the UK will leave the EU by October 31, the previous Brexit deadline, before he was forced to seek a three-month extension from Brussels after lawmakers voted against the new withdrawal agreement in the Parliament.
On Monday, EU leaders approved the UK’s request for a three-month extension to the Brexit process, meaning that the country would not leave the European bloc on Thursday as per the previous deadline.
Announcing the same on Twitter, Donald Tusk, the president of the EU Council, said that bloc’s 27 remaining leaders agreed to a “flextension” until January 2020, adding that the decision must still be formalised through a written procedure.
“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure,” he said.
The delay, granted for the third time by the EU this year, will be cut short if Johnson passes his exit deal before January 2020.