29 October 2019 | UK NEWS
MPs have voted tonight by 438 votes to 20 to approve a General Election on Thursday 12 December. The two-clause Bill, introduced by the Government today, will now pass to the House of Lords, where it is not expected to encounter significant opposition or amendment.
The date set for the election means that Parliament will be dissolved next Tuesday 5 November – an auspicious date. Amendments intended to extend the franchise to 16 and 17-year-old voters, as well as to the 3.4 million EU citizens in the UK, were not selected. A Labour amendment to change the date from 12 December to 9 December was selected, but was defeated by 315-295 votes. This proposed date change was widely seen to be in favour of students, who may be registered to vote in both their home and university constituencies.
The Prime Minister did not make what would have been a customary address to the House upon the announcement of the result, instead proceeding immediately to address a meeting of the 1922 Committee. Leaving the meeting, the Prime Minister is reported to have said that the country must now “come together to get Brexit done”. Although this Bill is not yet technically law, the assumption in Westminster this evening is that it can be taken as read that a General Election will be held on 12 December.
An election has not been held at this time of year since a little after World War I, and a number of voices have raised concerns today that this could potentially hamper the ability of certain demographic groups to make it to the polling booths. However, the resolution has nonetheless been passed, and the country is now most likely set for a General Election on this date. It is notable that the Prime Minister’s fourth attempt to secure a General Election has now received what would have been the required two-thirds majority of MPs that it needed before, although on this occasion it was only conditional upon a simple majority.
Both local and national party machines are now set to gear up to bring their message to voters and households across the country. Wolves will bring you further coverage of election developments as they unfold.