U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May won by a landslide the approval she wanted for a June 8 snap election as she seeks to strengthen her mandate ahead of Brexit negotiations.
Lawmakers in the House of Commons voted 522 to 13 on Wednesday in favor of her plan to hold an election three years earlier than scheduled.
The result triggers what will be an intense seven-week campaign in which the U.K.’s fraught relationship with the European Union will undergo scrutiny less than a year since the country voted in a referendum to leave the bloc.
With polls showing May’s Conservatives with a commanding lead over her main rival, the prime minister is calculating she can increase her slim majority of just 17 lawmakers and negotiate the kind of Brexit she wants without being swayed by hard-liners in her party.
“Let us lay out our plans for Brexit, let us put forth our plans for the future of this great country, let us put our fate in the hands of the people and then let the people decide,” the prime minister told a rowdy House of Commons in London. “Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the European Union.”
Until Tuesday, May had repeatedly ruled out holding an early election, saying there would be no national vote until 2020. She changed her mind on a walking holiday over the Easter break with her husband, after “reluctantly” concluding that the “game-playing” over Brexit among politicians in London would make negotiating with EU leaders much harder.