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Mon, 28 September 2020

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By Hft

Opposition parties set to block Boris Johnson's bid for snap general election

Opposition parties set to block Boris Johnson's bid for snap general election
3 min read

Opposition parties are set to vote against Boris Johnson's bid to have a snap general election to break the Brexit deadlock.

In what would be a fresh humiliation for the Prime Minister, he will likely fail to get the two-thirds majority he needs when the Commons votes on an emergency motion on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson told MPs that he had no choice but to call for an election after rebel Tories joined with the opposition to seize control of the Commons timetable.

The rebels will now try to pass a bill which would force the Prime Minister to seek another Brexit delay rather than leave the EU without a deal on 31 October.

He said: "I don’t want an election. The public don’t want an election. But if the House votes for this bill, the public will have to choose who goes to Brussels on 17 October  to sort this out and take this country forward."

Downing Street sources have confirmed that the Prime Minister wants the election to take place on 14 October.

But the opposition say they do not trust him not to move that date until after 31 October to prevent MPs blocking no-deal. 

Government sources have dismissed that as "tin foil hat stuff".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn made clear that his party would not support a fresh poll until after the rebel bill is passed. That is not likely to be until the end of this week.

He said: "There is no consent in this House to leave the European Union without a deal. There is no majority for no deal in the country.

"As I have said before: if the Prime Minister has confidence in his Brexit policy - when he has one he can put forward - he should put it before the people in a public vote.

"And so, he wants to table a motion for a general election. Fine, get the bill through first in order to take no deal off the table."

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the party could "not trust" Boris Johnson to stick to his commitment that an election would be held ahead of the Brexit date.

He told the BBC's Today programme: "We are not voting for a general election today. We are not dancing to Boris Johnson's tune.

"If Boris Johnson says the election will be on October 15, no one trusts him."

Meanwhile, SNP leader Ian Blackford said: "The SNP is ready for an election. We stand ready to bring down the Tory government and give Scotland the chance to stop Brexit and to decide its own future.

"However we know the damage a no deal Brexit will do and we cannot trust the Tories not to use an election to force a no deal."

And Liz Saville-Roberts, Plaid Cymru's leader at Westminster, said: "We will not vote for a General Election on Boris Johnson's terms and deny him a chance to deliver a no deal Brexit via a backdoor. 

"We will prevent the PM from engineering an election for his own cynical means. If he wants one he should table a vote of no confidence in himself."


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