Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn hit ground running after election clears Commons vote

Mark Chandler
Theresa May: Her bid for an early election was backed by MPs: Getty Images

Theresa May has praised MPs for making “the right decision” in the national interest after they backed her call for a General Election on June 8.

The Prime Minister easily cleared the hurdle needed under the Fixed Term Parliament Act to bring the poll forward from the scheduled date of 2020.

With Mrs May 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.

Praising MPs for backing her during a stump speech in the north-west of England, the PM said: "It's great to be here in Bolton, fresh from the House of Commons, fresh from winning a vote in the House of Commons, which has approved my decision to hold a general election on June 8.

"It's the right decision, it's in the national interest, and that's what this election is about.

"It's about providing the strong and stable leadership this country needs to take Britain through Brexit and beyond, it's about strengthening our hand in the negotiations that lie ahead.

"And it's about sticking to our plan for a stronger Britain that will enable us to secure that more stable and secure future for this country and take the right long-term decisions for the future."

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.

While promising to run a "positive and optimistic campaign", she said the choice at the election was between her "strong and stable leadership" or a "coalition of chaos" led by Mr Corbyn.

Rallying call: Jeremy Corbyn in Croydon (PA)

Jeremy Corbyn hit the general election campaign trail within hours of MPs approving Theresa May's plan.

The Labour leader rallied activists in key target seat Croydon Central with a speech in which he highlighted a string of recent policy promises to build council houses, help carers and boost the minimum wage.

He said: "This election is about the future of all of us - the future of our children, the future of social justice, the future of our jobs," he told cheering activists.

"Are we going to be a country that gives riches and makes riches for all of us or are we going to be a country that works only to make the richest even richer? I know which side I'm on, you know which side you are on.

"This election is going to be fought on the streets of this country. Up and down. In town halls, in streets, on beaches, on sea fronts, we are taking that message of the kind of country and kind of society we want to be."

Highlighting policies which will be at the heart of the party's manifesto, Mr Corbyn said: "I want a Labour government that builds council housing," he said. "I want a Labour government that makes sure that £10 an hour is the living wage and is paid to all workers all over the country.

"I want a Labour government that ensures that carers are properly supported when they are caring for loved ones. I want a Labour government that ensures that people don't wait for hours in A&E departments to get treatment.

“I want a Labour government that isn't closing hospitals, that isn't underfunding schools... That is the difference between Labour and the Tories."

Mr Corbyn said that a Labour government would conduct "responsible" Brexit negotiations to ensure future trading relations with the remaining EU. And he said it would invest in the economy through a national investment bank.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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