The UK will hold a general election on December 12 after Parliament backs snap poll

The UK will hold a general election on December 12 after Members of Parliament backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's bid for a snap poll.

The House of Commons on Tuesday voted to back a bill brought forward by Johnson's to allow a pre-Christmas election in order to "refresh this parliament" and "break free from the impasse" on Brexit.

MPs had rejected three previous attempts by Johnson to secure a general election, due to fears that the prime minister would use the election campaign period in order to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

However, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Tuesday that he was now willing to back a new law brought forward by Johnson which will allow an early general election, after the EU formally agreed to delay Brexit until next year.

"We have now heard from the EU that the extension of Article 50 to 31st January has been confirmed, so for the next three months, our condition of taking no deal off the table has now been met," he said.

He added that the Labour party "will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen."

An attempt by opposition parties to move the date for the election three days forward to December 9 was defeated by the government.

Johnson's election bill will now pass to the House of Lords, which by convention is unlikely to amend it after it has passed the Commons unamended.

The victory for the prime minister came after he welcomed back 10 of the 21 Conservative MPs he expelled from the party last month.

Alistair Burt, Caroline Nokes, Greg Clark, Nick Soames, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Stephen Hammond, Steve Brine, Richard Harrington, Richard Benyon all had the Conservative whip restored.

The returning members all backed Johnson on votes on his Brexit bill last week. Other former Conservative MPs, including the former Conservative Chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, have not been welcomed back.

Johnson's path to a majority could be narrow

Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson

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Johnson's Conservative Party go into the 2019 UK general election campaign as the favourites to emerge as the winners of the contest.

Recent opinion polls give them an average lead of ten points. This is due in large part to Johnson's success in uniting pro-Brexit voters behind his party, in contrast to the splintering of anti-Brexit voters between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

However, polling experts suggest that he may struggle to win the Parliamentary majority he seeks.

The UK's leading elections expert John Curtice told LBC on Tuesday that smaller parties are expected to make big gains at the polls, potentially denying Johnson a majority.

He added that unlike in 2010, when the Conservatives secured a parliamentary majority thanks to the Liberal Democrats entering into a coalition, Johnson would struggle to find partners to prop his government in another hung parliament.

"This is an asymmetric election," he said.

"It's an election that Boris Johnson has to win. If he does not get a majority or something very close to it, he will not be able to stay in government because the Conservatives do not have any friends elsewhere.

"The Labour Party, by contrast, at least has the possibility of doing a deal with the SNP, a deal with the Liberal Democrats, getting support of the Greens and maybe even the DUP not standing in their way.

"Bear in mind, this is not an election that Labour have to win to stop Brexit, but it is an election that they and the other opposition parties simply need to deny the Conservatives a majority.

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