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Mon, 13 July 2020

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WATCH: Labour splits erupt as frontbencher says party will not back Boris Johnson's election bid

WATCH: Labour splits erupt as frontbencher says party will not back Boris Johnson's election bid
3 min read

Labour splits have erupted over Boris Johnson's threat to call a snap general election after a senior frontbencher said the party would not support it.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Tony Lloyd's comments put him at odds with Jeremy Corbyn, who has insisted that Labour will vote for an election in all circumstances.

The Prime Minister has said he will trigger the process for an election on 14 October if the Government loses a crunch Commons vote on Brexit on Tuesday night.

The move would require the support of two-thirds of MPs, and would be guaranteed to pass if Labour backs it.

Speaking about the prospects of an election at a rally in Salford on Monday, Mr Corbyn told Labour supporters: “I’m ready for it, you’re ready for it, we’re ready for it.”

But speaking on BBC Two’s Newsnight, Mr Lloyd said his party was not "daft enough" to fall for the PM’s tactic, which he said was "designed to land us with a no-deal Brexit".

He said Labour was instead focused on backing attempts to pass a rebel bill which would block a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Lloyd said: "Will we fall for Boris Johnson’s trick? No we won’t. Boris Johnson is a man who has got form for reneging on his promises."

Mr Lloyd added: “We will not have Boris Johnson dictating the terms of an election, which crashes this country out with a no-deal Brexit. We will in fact work through the parliamentary process to make sure that this law is passed.

"Obviously once we can guarantee that we pass 31 October and don’t have a no-deal Brexit, of course we want an election.”

Fellow Labour MP Mary Creagh agreed, telling the same programme that while the party was ready for an election,  "we aren’t going to agree to one when there is a threat of a no-deal Brexit hanging over the country".

Peter Kyle, the Labour MP for Hove, tweeted: "In 2017 we wasted 7 weeks of negotiating time on a pointless general election. To do so again at an even more critical stage would be a titanic mistake.

"I will not dance to Boris Johnson’s tune. If he calls an election I will vote against it."

But highlighting the split in the Labour ranks, Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon tweeted: "Well done to all those protesting outside No 10 as Boris Johnson gave his statement. Johnson looked rattled. So he should. He has no mandate for No Deal. General Election Now!"

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