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The bill still needs to be approved by the Lords but could become law by the end of the week.
Britain will hold its first December election in almost a century after Prime Minister Boris Johnson won approval from parliament on Tuesday for an early ballot aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock.
As the European Union granted the third delay to the divorce that was originally supposed to take place on March 29, the United Kingdom, its parliament and its electorate remain divided on how, or indeed whether, to go ahead with Brexit.
Johnson, who had promised to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 “do or die”, demanded a Dec. 12 election after parliament - where he has no majority - frustrated his attempts to ratify the last-minute divorce deal he struck with the EU earlier this month.
In a rare parliamentary success for Johnson after a string of defeats, his short bill calling for a Dec. 12 election was approved 438 to 20 in the House of Commons. The bill now goes to the House of Lords.
Before the vote, Johnson had said parliament was obstructing Brexit and thus damaging the economy by preventing investment decisions, and corroding faith in democracy.
“There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism - this endless wilful fingers-crossed ‘not me Guv’ refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people - and that is, Mr Speaker, to refresh this parliament and give the people a choice,” Johnson said.
The first Christmas election in Britain since 1923 would be highly unpredictable: Brexit has variously fatigued and enraged swathes of voters while eroding traditional loyalties to the two major parties, Conservative and Labour.
Some politicians feel an election so close to Christmas could irritate voters, while campaigning and getting the vote out could be hampered by cold winter weather and darkness setting in by mid-afternoon.
Ultimately, voters would have a choice between an emboldened Johnson pushing for his Brexit deal or a socialist government under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn renegotiating the deal before another referendum.
The election result will be announced in the early hours of Friday the 13th. If no party wins conclusively, the Brexit deadlock would continue.
BREXIT UP IN THE AIR
Labour swung behind an election earlier on Tuesday.
“I’m ready for it,” Jeremy Corbyn told parliament. He frames Labour as a socialist alternative to the inequality and close relations with U.S. President Donald Trump that he says characterise Johnson’s premiership. “Change is coming.”