Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he is ready to fight a “tough” campaign after MPs approved his call for a snap election on the fourth attempt. The legislation still needs to pass through the House of Lords, but is not expected to be opposed.
Mr Johnson and his Government are hoping to regain an overall majority for the Conservatives, thereby strengthening the mandate for the Brexit deal.
The PM told a meeting of backbench MPs it was time for the country to “come together to get Brexit done”.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the snap poll gave a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity to transform the nation.
Writing in the Daily Mirror, the Labour leader spoke of his party’s “ambitious and radical campaign” to come.
But while the two main parties go head to head, the threat of smaller parties is the greatest it’s been in a decade, as the Brexit crisis eats into public faith in the nation’s leaders.
A look at the poll tracker above shows clearly how the Conservative and Labour lead over smaller parties has drastically tightened since the beginning of the year.
A particular threat for the Labour Party is the Lib Dems, who have positioned themselves as the clear anti-Brexit option, sweeping up support where Remainers have tired of Labour’s unclear Brexit policy.
The latest polls show Labour has a major fight on its hands to stave off the Lib Dem threat, with the latest YouGov poll giving Labour just a four percent lead.
“The SNP look set to win the vast majority of seats in Scotland. The Liberal Democrats given their position in the polls should do extremely well. We expect Caroline Lucas and the Green Party to hang on to her seat.
“We could have more than 100 MPs that do not belong to either of the other two parties.”
This comes as Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna said the party could claim as many as 200 seats if it managed to unite the Remain vote.
Mr Umunna, who is standing in one of the party’s key target seats, Westminster, said the party should “get more than 40 seats at a general election”.
He added: “We know from the internal polling that if we move from the position we are in and say there is a 1.5-2 per cent swing, we can get up to 100 seats.
“If there is a five per cent swing towards the Liberal Democrats through the course of the campaign, 200 seats are in contention.
“But who knows what will happen? We are not complacent. We are not drunk on our success, we want to continue to expand the bandwidth, draw people into the party.”
He added the party’s biggest “wild card” was its leader Jo Swinson, who he claimed has so far been massively underestimated and has had huge success in the short time she has been leading the party.
The Lib Dems won just 12 seats at the 2017 election, up from eight in 2015 but down from 57 in 2010.