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United Kingdom parliament clears mid-term 'Brexit poll'

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Green activists have begun plotting non-aggression pacts in 15 different constituenciesANDREW MATTHEWS

British lawmakers yesterday overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Theresa May's call for a snap election, paving the way for a June vote that she hopes will give her a "mandate to complete Brexit".

Meanwhile former Tory Chancellor, Ken Clarke who initially said he would step down in 2020 before the next election has said he will be standing in June.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May's walks off stage after speaking at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 2, 2016.

May's decision for earlier elections could help push plans in Scotland to hold another referendum on independence in a bid to remain in the EU. The mid-term election has already been dubbed a "Brexit election".

May's Conservative Party, which is firmly pro-Brexit, holds a bare majority of 17 seats in Parliament, but most polls show conservatives with a double-digit lead over the opposing Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. It is the fourth round of voting in four years, after the Scotland's independence referendum of 2014, the general election of 2015, and the European Union referendum in 2016.

United Kingdom commentators say the relentless political logic of an early election, that the Conservatives are expected to win well, has proved too tempting.

If @Theresa_May is so proud of her record, why is she dodging head-to-head TV debates with me?

"Britain is leaving the European Union and there can be no turning back", asserted the British PM.

It is still unclear whether Mrs May will attend the debate but there have been calls for broadcasters to "empty chair" her if she remains a no-show.

May ruled out participating in televised debates with other leaders.

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"How can any voter trust what the prime minister says?" asked Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party.

Mrs May has argued a fresh mandate would strengthen her hand in Brexit talks and provide certainty for the future.

In her speech on Tuesday at the door of 10 Downing Street, May made it clear why she wanted an early election. "We can't win, they say, because we don't play their game", he will tell an audience in Westminster, London.

I say ironic because May so far has been advocating a hard Brexit but the reason she might get a softer Brexit out of this is because she will no longer be as dependent on some of the hard-line, pro-Brexit MPs so she will have more flexibility when it comes to negotiations with Brussels.

"They think there are rules in politics, which if you don't follow by doffing your cap to powerful people, accepting that things can't really change, then you can't win".

May, who has described herself as "not a showy politician", said she would rather talk directly to voters.

There has been widespread public support for Monday's decision, while political experts have given mixed responses.

Anne Richards, chief executive of investment manager M&G Investments, said she thought the election move was due to the timing of Brexit talks, not a "potential squeeze" on real incomes.

She told The Sun she chose to reverse earlier pledges not to go to the country early because she wanted to be able to go into Brexit negotiations with the "backing of the British people" as her "very clear mandate".

"There will be no second referendum", May told the BBC. "Labour is the party that will put the interests of the majority first".

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