Did the 2017 General Election occur via the invocation of the following clause in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act?

If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its total membership (including vacant seats), resolves "That there shall be an early parliamentary general election".


2 Answers 2


Yes, the House of Commons voted by 522 to 13 to have an early election.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she wanted to strengthen her hand in the negotiations by achieving an increased majority. The Labour Party was happy to have an election, as were most of the other parties. Although it looked at first as if the Conservatives would increase their majority, which had been 17, they slipped back in the opinion polls and ended up without a majority.

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    It's not too obvious why the opposition should have been happy with it. In general, snap elections called by the government work in the latter's favor. But I guess the more detailed reasoning of the opposition in this case should be a different question. Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 20:08
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    Probably safer to say that the opposition claimed to be happy with it. Whether or not they really expected it to play in their favour, any admission you don't think you can convince voters to prefer you to the competition will itself harm your electoral appeal. They had to look ready for the fight.
    – Will
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 9:10

And yes, the motion was voted on in accordance with the FTPA; the Parliament has a detailed page on this question:

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.

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?

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.

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