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UK set for December election in bid to break Brexit deadlock

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson had earlier won the backing of opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (above) for the snap poll.

London

THE United Kingdom is set for its third general election since 2015 as political leaders attempt to resolve the Brexit crisis paralysing the country.

Lawmakers on Tuesday approved the timetable for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "Early Parliamentary General Election Bill" which calls for an early general election on Dec 12 without a formal vote.

Parliament's lower house were set to fast-track the legislation and finish its consideration later on Tuesday. It must then pass onto Parliament's upper chamber for further consideration.

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The two votes on the bill were to take place from around 1730 GMT.

Mr Johnson had earlier won the backing of opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for the snap poll.

The vote is set to become a proxy referendum on European Union (EU) membership. It is likely to be the last chance voters have to choose between parties offering to cancel Brexit or force through a hard split at any cost.

The pound pared losses as traders judged an early election would go ahead, and on speculation it could produce a Conservative Party majority to end the Brexit deadlock.

"This is a once-in-a-generation chance to build a country for the many, not the few," Mr Corbyn said on Twitter to announce Labour's support for the early poll. "It's time."

This will be the fourth time the prime minister has tried to persuade the House of Commons to back his call for a snap election.

He was rebuffed previously because the Labour Party refused to agree to dissolve Parliament for a national campaign while there was still a chance the UK could crash out of the EU without a divorce agreement.

On Monday, the EU agreed to postpone Brexit day until Jan 31 to give Mr Johnson more time to persuade members of Parliament to ratify the deal he struck on Oct 17.

"For the next three months, our condition of taking no-deal off the table has now been met," Mr Corbyn told his top team on Tuesday, according to a party statement. "We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen." BLOOMBERG, REUTERS