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Voters head to polling stations for 12 December election

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Johnson forced election

Boris Johnson finally secured a resounding victory in the Commons as MPs backed his demands for a general election in an attempt to end the Brexit deadlock.

MPs voted by 438 to 20 at third reading to approve the one-page Bill enabling the election to be held on 12 December.

Mr Johnson re-admitted 10 of the 21 Tory MPs while proposed amendments to lower the voting age and to allow EU nationals to vote were barred from being considered by the deputy Speaker.

Earlier, they rejected a Labour amendment by 315 to 295 for polling day to take place on 9 December to cut off any possibility Mr Johnson could make a fresh attempt to ram through his Brexit deal before Parliament is dissolved.

The vote means Parliament will be dissolved on 6 November.

The election was made possible when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn finally agreed after securing the No Deal Brexit he had sought as a condition.

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

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson confirmed her party would be campaigning on a platform to reverse the Leave vote.

“It is our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit,” she said.

It will be the first December election in the UK since 1923 and if the Tories win, as opinion polls suggest, Mr Johnson will push ahead with his Brexit deal.

If he loses or the Tories cannot form a majority government, there is the prospect of a second referendum.

Confirmation of the election date and the earlier cancellation of the Budget means the Scottish Budget – also planned for 12 December – will now have to take place early in the new year.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: “This may be a winter election but it must bring a spring thaw to our frozen economy. 

“It offers a one-off chance to break the gridlock that has blighted our country for over three years – we urge politicians on all sides to take it. 

Carolyn Fairbairn: one-off chance (pic: Terry Murden)

“It’s also an opportunity for all parties to present their visions for the UK’s future. By replacing ideology with evidence, the next government – working alongside business – can show the UK is a great place to invest, start and build a company.

“Passing a good deal with the EU is the first step. Then the real heavy lifting can begin, building a future relationship with our biggest trading partner based on regulatory alignment, frictionless trade and the UK’s all-important services sector.

“Ending political instability will enable a renewed focus on domestic priorities, including education and infrastructure, which will transform the jobs and livelihoods of millions of people. 

“Only by working together can politicians and business seize the opportunities ahead and overcome shared challenges, from technology to climate change.

“The prize is a more prosperous, sustainable and fairer United Kingdom for generations to come.”

FSB’s Scotland policy chairman Andrew McRae said: “We want to see all parties vying for Scottish votes to commit to speaking up for local businesses.

“While debate about our future relationship with Europe will dominate the election, the next batch of Scottish MPs will need to put the wider interests of Scottish local communities and economies right up the political agenda.”

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