Britain heading to polls on December 12 as election given greenlight

Brits will head to the polls on December 12 after MPs voted in support of holding an election.

After three attempts at trying to convince the British Parliament to back an election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally received the support of opposition parties.

MPs voted 438 to 20 in support of the election - the first December election in nearly a century. The Bill calling for the election will now go to the House of Lords, where it will almost certainly pass. 

Amendments to the Bill proposed by the opposition failed. These included one to hold the election on December 9 - when university students were still in term time.

Previous attempts by the Government to force an election had failed as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to back a vote unless a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table. With the European Union granting Britain a three-month extension to Brexit, Corbyn announced on Tuesday he was comfortable with holding an election.

Johnson's Conservative Party are currently ahead by about 10 percent in most polls.

Having an election had been pivotal to Johnson's Brexit strategy. With Parliament in essential deadlock over Brexit, the Prime Minister had been hoping to win more seats for the Conservatives in an election and therefore have the ability to push through a Brexit deal of his choosing.

His Withdrawal Agreement was supported in Parliament last week, but didn't allow it to be fast-tracked through the parliamentary process, resulting in Brexit not able to occur before the October 31 deadline.

Johnson based his leadership election on the promise of getting Britain out of the European Union by Halloween but has faced constant opposition within Parliament and his own party.

Before the vote, Johnson had said parliament was obstructing Brexit and thus damaging the economy by preventing investment decisions and corroding faith in democracy.

"There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism - this endless wilful fingers-crossed 'not me Guv' refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people - and that is, Mr Speaker, to refresh this parliament and give the people a choice," Johnson said.

Corbyn said: "This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back."

Christmas election

The first Christmas election in Britain since 1923 could be highly unpredictable: Brexit has variously fatigued and enraged swathes of voters while eroding traditional loyalties to the two major parties, Conservative and Labour.

Some politicians feel an election so close to Christmas could irritate voters, while campaigning and getting the vote out could be hampered by cold winter weather and darkness setting in by mid-afternoon.

Ultimately, voters would have a choice between an emboldened Johnson pushing for his Brexit deal or a socialist government under Labour leader Corbyn renegotiating the deal before another referendum.

When Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, bet on an early election in 2017, she lost her slender majority - a failure that ultimately prevented her from ratifying her Brexit deal in parliament and sank her political career.

Both major parties will have to fight on at least three fronts: against each other while the hard-line Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage seeks to poach Brexit voters and the Liberal Democrats seeks to win over opponents of Brexit.

"This will probably be the most unpredictable election I have ever known," Anand Menon, director of The UK in a Changing Europe, told Reuters.

"Is it Brexit or is it not? We don’t know. Second, the election is as volatile as ever and, thirdly, the potential for tactical voting - and tactical voting to go wrong - is very high given the Leave-Remain split,” he said.

The election result will be announced in the early hours of Friday the 13th. If no party wins conclusively, the Brexit deadlock would continue.

Newshub. / Reuters

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