Parliament approves Prime Minister Theresa May's General Election call
Britain will go to the polls on June 8, after MPs cleared the way for an early general election.
Theresa May easily cleared the hurdle needed under the Fixed Term Parliament Act to bring the poll forward from the scheduled date of 2020.
With the Prime Minister needing the support of 434 MPs - two thirds of all seats in the House of Commons - some 522 voted for the early election, with just 13 against.
There was never any real doubt about Mrs May securing the backing needed to go to the country, with both Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat Tim Farron saying they welcomed the election - though Scottish National Party MPs abstained in the vote.
But there was deep division over the issues which should decide the election's outcome, with Mrs May casting the poll as an opportunity to secure "strong and stable leadership" for Britain as it forges a new position outside the European Union, while Mr Corbyn said voters should take the chance to make their judgment on the Conservative record on austerity and public service cuts.
Theresa May defended her decision to call the poll saying she "reluctantly" changed her mind in recent weeks.
She told BBC Radio 4's Today: "I genuinely came to this decision reluctantly having looked at the circumstances and having looked ahead at the process of negotiation.
"I want this country to be able to play the strongest hand possible in those negotiations and be in a position to get the best possible deal.
"That is in our long-term interest. That is what this is about."
Belfast Telegraph Digital