Theresa May held the starting gun aloft yesterday for a snap election, and MPs have this afternoon given her permission to fire it by overwhelmingly backing her plan by 522 votes to just 13. This means Britain is set to go to the polls on Thursday June 8, in just 50 days. The Electoral Commission has promised to deliver a “well-run” operation that “commanders the confidence of voters across the UK”. The deadline to register to vote is Monday 22 May, and you can do so here.
The key election messages are already being pumped out, with Tory MPs talking up Theresa May’s strength at Prime Minister’s Questions today. They praised her for providing “a strong economy, strong defence and strong leadership”, and gamely set up ways for her attack Jeremy Corbyn. The Labour leader, the inevitable star of Conservative election literature, has left them spoilt for ways to go after him.
Once Mr Corbyn finished arguing with the Prime Minister on television about why they should have to argue more on television during the campaign, George Osborne announced that he was quitting as an MP. Mrs May will avoid celebrating the imminent departure of a backbench critic as he’ll have more time to criticise her as editor of the Evening Standard. Ken Clarke has made clear, despite speculation to the contrary, that he’ll be fighting for re-election, which suggests he intends to be around to lead the Tory Remainers until 2021. Their fight will get much harder though after the election, I wrote online, as Tory MPs will be standing on a new manifesto that allows for Britain to leave the Single Market. Mrs May isn’t just trying to unite the nation behind her Brexit plan, she is binding her party in too.
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