MPs in voted in the Commons today on whether to hold a general election on 8th June with an overwhelming 522 votes in favour and only 13 against.
This comes after Theresa May announced outside number 10 that she would be calling for a general election and would need a two-thirds majority from parliament for the motion to pass.
May said during her announcement: “At this moment of enormous national significance, there should be unity here in Westminster, but instead there is division” which “will risk our ability to make a success of Brexit.”
Therefore it seems as though this election has been called to make sure Brexit happens the way the Conservatives want it to, with a strong majority in parliament to give them a mandate, and with only 50 days until the election it is unlikely that the opposition will be able to produce a powerful enough campaign to win a majority.
John Street, UEA expert in British politics, gave News of Norfolk some insight into why Theresa May decided to call this election:
“Waiting was riskier for her and her party. There’s a real possibility that in 2019 the negotiations with the EU are:
- Fraught and difficult,
- Promising a bad deal for the UK, and
- Contributing economic stagnation.
Better to go now with an unpopular/unprepared opposition.”
However, Jeremy Corbyn is optimistic about the election, telling the BBC it is a “chance to vote for a government that will put the interests of the majority first”.
May also revealed that she will not be taking part in any television debates in the run up to the election. Labour MP for Norwich South who voted against the snap election, Clive Lewis, tweeted in response: “More debt,more pensioner&child poverty,more MAYhem more chaos.Proud of your record Theresa May?Then step up to a debate #PMQs”.
While taking part in televised debates is not compulsory for anyone running for office, they are an outlet for democracy and making sure that every voice is heard. Not only this, but modern voting behaviour has shown that winning a campaign is not as simple as having agreeable policy, but more to do with the charisma and likeability of the leader.
Along with this, the ITV television debate between David Cameron and Ed Miliband in 2015 managed to attract 7.4 million viewers, and 5 years prior when Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown went head to head, a staggering 9.4 million people tuned in. While many people might not go out of their way to read party manifestos, watching an hour of television to gauge their policies and interests is a great way to keep the electorate informed and educated.
If you’re not sure who to vote for, take part in a political alliance quiz here.
The deadline to register to vote is Monday 22nd May. (Register here).