MPs approve an early general election

19 April 2017

On Tuesday 18 April, Prime Minister Theresa May announced her intention to hold a general election on 8 June 2017. In order for the election to take place at least two-thirds of MPs had to agree to a motion in the House of Commons.

MPs approved the motion for an early general election by 522 to 13. The support of two-thirds of all MPs required for this motion to pass was reached.

Early parliamentary election (motion)

MPs voted on the motion:

"That there shall be an early parliamentary general election."

Why do MPs need to vote on whether there will be a general election?

Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, general elections are scheduled to take place every five years and the next general election was scheduled to take place on 7 May 2020. However, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act allows for an earlier election to take place:

  • if a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole House or without division
  • or, if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days.

At least two-thirds of the total number of MPs, 434 MPs, must vote for the motion to trigger an early general election. The motion could be passed without a division if there are no objections in the Chamber.

Related Information

House of Commons Library analysis

The House of Commons Library produces briefing papers to inform MPs and their staff of key issues. The papers contain factual information and a range of opinions on each subject, and aim to be politically impartial.

Read the Library blog on the potential 2017 general election for more information:

Watching debates from the public gallery

UK residents and overseas visitors can watch proceedings in the House of Commons by visiting the public gallery.

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