Britain is on course for its first December election since 1923 after opposition parties backed Boris Johnson’s call for an early trip to the polls.
In the vote on Tuesday, 438 MPs voted in favour of the pre-Christmas election, while 20 voted against – a majority of 418.
The vote effectively clears the way for Parliament to be dissolved on November 6, paving the way for an election on December 12.
The PM’s general election motion will now go to the Lords, but after being approved by MPs it is unlikely that it will be held up by the unelected upper chamber.
So as MPs gear up for weeks of fierce campaigning, here’s everything you need to know ahead of December 12.
When is the next general election?
The next general election will likely take place on December 12, with voting taking place between 7am and 10pm.
The election can’t happen any earlier than this because once an election is called there has to be a gap of at least five weeks before polling day.
The law dictates that Parliament must dissolve 25 working days before a general election. At this point, MPs lose their status and must campaign for re-election, if they decide to stand again.
Why are we having an early election?
The next general election isn’t due until June 2022 under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (FTPA) 2011, which ensures the automatic dissolution of Parliament every five years.
However, the short bill tabled by Mr Johnson on Tuesday bypassed FTPA provisions to allow for a much earlier election date.
The PM has been vying for a trip to the polls for months because he wants to strengthen his hand in the House of Commons by restoring the Conservative Party’s ruling majority.
Despite failing three times previously to secure a snap election under FTPA rules, Mr Johnson’s calls were finally heeded in the Commons this evening.
Opposition parties have their own motives for backing a fresh poll: Labour said it would be launching “the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen” to “put an end to the shambolic mess the Tories have made”.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party are seizing on the opportunity to stop Brexit in its tracks and expand their respective parties’ national standing.
What are the key dates between now and the general election?
A number of key dates have not yet been confirmed, but this is the kind of timetable we can expect:
- October 29: The Early General Election Bill passes through all stages in the House of Commons.
- November 6: Parliament dissolves.
- November 14: Deadline for candidate nominations.
- Week of November 18: Likely launch of party manifestos.
- November 25: Deadline to register to vote.
- December 12:General election – polls open at 7am and close at 10pm.
Who are the candidates in my constituency?
A list of the candidates who are standing – or ‘Statement of Persons Nominated’ – will be posted on your local authority website and on notice boards in your area after the deadline for nominations has passed. This is expected to happen in mid-November.
You can find official election information for your area via the Electoral Commission website by typing in your postcode via this link: Electoral Commission: Your election information.
During the 2017 campaign, additional information about candidates in each constituency was collected online on the independent website ‘Who Can I Vote For?‘.
Can I vote for a new prime minister?
You can only vote to elect your local MP in a general election – you cannot specifically vote for a new prime minister.
If you live in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency you will vote for him simply as you local MP in the next Parliament.
This is the same if you live in the constituency of another political party leader.
When will the results of the election be announced?
It can take up to 24 hours for the results from all 650 constituencies to be declared, with the final total possibly coming as late as the evening of Friday, December 13.
Where can I find the results of the general election?
The Standard will report closely on the election results, and provide live coverage as the events unfurl.
Local authorities will also publish results for constituencies in their area.
The Electoral Commission will publish the national election results, as well as those foor individual constituencies.
Which party is likely to win the election?
The bookies are backing the Conservatives, with Betfair setting the odds at 10/11 on the party winning the most seats.
Labour is lagging far behind at 23/1, while the Lib Dems are on 99/1 and the Brexit Party has slipped to just 159/1.
Current polls also give the Conservative Party a strong lead over Labour. YouGov’s latest voting intention tracker, taken at the end of last week, showed the Tories with 37 percent of the vote, followed by Labour with just 23 percent.
The Lib Dems came in third with 19 percent, followed by the Brexit Party on 11 percent.