Number 10 denies Theresa May planning for snap election to break Brexit deadlock

Posted On: 
18th January 2019

Downing Street has flatly denied that Theresa May is planning to call a fresh general election, as speculation mounted about a snap poll.

According to the New Statesman, four ministers have earmarked 28 February as the date for a new election.
Credit: 
PA

The New Statesman on Friday reported that at least nine government ministers - including three at Cabinet-level - have told their constituency associations to start preparing for a snap vote as the Prime Minister struggles to break the deadlock over her Brexit deal.

According to the title, four of those ministers have named 28 February as the date for a new poll.

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Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reported that Britain's top civil servant Sir Mark Sedwill has told senior departmental officials to be ready for an early election.

But in a briefing with journalists this morning, Mrs May's official spokesperson was specifically asked whether the Prime Minister is "ruling out a snap general election".

The spokesperson replied: "Yes."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long been pushing for an election, arguing this week that only a fresh public poll would "break the deadlock and find a solution that works for the whole country".

However, his bid to trigger a vote through a motion of no-confidence in the Government came unstuck in the Commons as Tory MPs and the DUP rallied around Mrs May.

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The denial from Downing Street came as Conservative heavyweight Boris Johnson twice declined to say whether he would back Mrs May leading the party into any snap election.

Asked whether he would support Mrs May if she triggered an early poll, Mr Johnson told Sky News: "I think that most people in this country feel that they've had quite enough elections and I certainly do.

"What they voted for was to leave the European Union and to take advantage of the opportunities of Brexit. That's what we should all be getting on and supporting."

Asked again if he would support the Prime Minister in a snap election campaign, the former foreign secretary said: "I think it highly unlikely that that will be the outcome.

"I think a snap election is not the right way through. Why call a snap election when you can just go back to Brussles and make the point that this deal is unacceptable and we want a better one?"