Boris Johnson warns Tory rebels there will be an election on 14 October if they defeat government

Posted On: 
2nd September 2019

Voters will go to the polls in a general election on 14 October if the Government loses a crunch Brexit vote on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson delivers his speech outside Number 10.
Credit: 
PA Images

Downing Street confirmed that Boris Johnson will fire the starting gun on a snap election on Wednesday and dare opposition MPs to vote it down.

The Prime Minister informed his Cabinet about the plan at an emergency meeting in Number 10.

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His aim would be to secure a Conservative majority which would allow him to go to an EU Council summit on 17 October in an attempt to get a deal which could be backed by Parliament before the 31 October Brexit deadline.

The dramatic move comes ahead of Tuesday's Commons vote in which opposition MPs and rebel Conservatives will try to seize control of the parliamentary agenda the following day in order to pass a law blocking a no-deal Brexit.

If passed, it would force Mr Johnson to delay Brexit until 31 January - or any alternative date that Brussels demands.

Tory whips have already warned that any of their MPs who vote against the Government on Tuesday will be suspended and banned from standing again as Conservative candidates.

In a statement on the steps of Number 10, the PM said that a government defeat "will plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible".

He said: "To show our friends in Brussels that we are united in our purpose, MPs should vote with the Government against Corbyn’s pointless delay.

"I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts. We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.

"Armed and fortified with that conviction, I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October - a deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise - and in the meantime let our negotiators get on with their work without that sword of Damocles over their necks. And without an election, which I don’t want and you don’t want."

A senior government source later confirmed that ahead of Tuesday's vote, MPs will be made aware that a government defeat will lead to an election on 14 October.

"If MPs vote to take over the negotiating position, we will move to a Fixed Term Parliaments Act vote to bring about a general election," said the source.

They also rejected claims by pro-Remain MPs the election could actually be delayed until after 31 October, meaning Parliament would be powerless to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Earlier, Jeremy Corbyn insisted that Labour would vote for an election in all circumstances - virtually guaranteeing that the Government would get the two-thirds majority it needs to make it happen.