Brexit: Johnson to ask Parliament to hold general election in December

By refusing the opposition parties are seen to be propping up a Zombie Tory Government and continuing the Brexit deadlock.

The government will seek a general election on December 12 — but hurdles remain. The motion needs to be backed by two-thirds of UK MPs in Parliament, which would require support from Labour.

By refusing the opposition parties are seen to be propping up a Zombie Tory Government and continuing the Brexit deadlock.

And to the many millions suffering this Tory parties reign of austerity in a country where More than 17,000 people have died waiting for a decision on their disability benefit in the last five years who can blame them. For most there last best hope as been the thought of a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Party to come into power and change the status quo.

Instead we see blocks, stops and excuses amid a further Brexit impasse, Boris Johnson on Thursday said he would grant more time for Parliament to scrutinise the latest version of the EU withdrawal deal if lawmakers agreed to hold an early election in December.

“The way to get Brexit done is, I think, to be reasonable to parliament,” Johnson told BBC in a televised statement. “If they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it, but they have to agree to a general election on December 12. That’s the way forward.”

The UK is not scheduled to have a general election until 2022. The motion for an early election, which the government is set to table on Monday, would require a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons. On Thursday, Johnson wrote to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn asking him for help in getting the necessary votes.

“It is time for MPs to finally to take responsibility,” Johnson said.

In the letter, Johnson added that “we must give the voters the chance to resolve this situation as soon as reasonably possible” and said the UK could form a new government by Christmas.

EU extension

The move comes a week before the latest Brexit deadline, October 31, is set to expire. Johnson had repeatedly pledged to take the UK out of the EU before this date, but  a majority of MPs rejected his proposal to fast-track the withdrawal deal through the assembly. By opting for more debate time, they have made it virtually impossible for Johnson to meet the October deadline.

In a letter to Labour leader Mr Corbyn, Mr Johnson said his “preferred option” was a short Brexit postponement “say to 15 or 30 November”.

But Mr Corbyn said: “Take no deal off the table and we absolutely support a general election.

“I’ve been calling for an election ever since the last one because this country needs one to deal with all the social injustice issues – but no deal must be taken off the table.

“The EU will decide whether there is an extension tomorrow…and then we can decide.”

Mr Johnson wrote that, in that case, he would try to get his deal through Parliament again, with Labour’s support.

Johnson added that he “assumes” Mr Corbyn “will cooperate with me to get our new Brexit deal ratified, so we leave with a new deal rather than no deal”.

If, as widely expected, the EU’s Brexit delay is to the end of January, Mr Johnson said he will hold a Commons vote next week on a 12 December election.

If Labour agrees to this, the government said it will try to get its deal through before Parliament is dissolved for the campaign on 6 November.

Treasury sources told the BBC that the Budget would not now be delivered on 6 November as scheduled.

Presentational grey line

Where parties stand on election

  • Conservatives – Boris Johnson has requested an election twice already – but not all of his MPs are on board with the idea, arguing that the focus should be on delivering Brexit first
  • Labour – Has insisted it wants an election but won’t vote for one until a no-deal Brexit has been firmly taken off the table. Some of its MPs from Leave voting areas may take a different view
  • SNP – The party’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford, said “we want an election but these terms are not acceptable,” adding that the poll should take place earlier than the middle of December
  • Lib Dems – Would prefer another referendum but have said they would vote for an election if there was a long enough extension. Leader Jo Swinson said she wanted to see what the EU said on Friday before deciding
  • DUP – Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesman, has indicated that the unionists could support an election in a bid to secure better terms with the EU
  • Independent Group for Change – Leader Anna Soubry said an election “wouldn’t solve anything” and called again for another referendum
  • Plaid Cymru – The party’s four MPs are likely to vote against an election, with the party arguing for another referendum instead
  • Green Party – The party’s sole MP, Caroline Lucas, looks set to vote against an election, saying in a tweet the UK could still “crash out” with no-deal if MPs can’t amend the Withdrawal Agreement
  • Independents -It would be very doubtful that any independent MPs that have recently crossed the floor or had the whip removed would vote for a G.E.
Presentational grey line

Johnson told BBC: “I’m afraid it looks as though our EU friends are going to respond to Parliament’s request by having an extension, which I really don’t want at all.

“So, the way to get this done, the way to get Brexit done, is, I think, to be reasonable with Parliament and say if they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it but they have to agree to a general election on 12 December.”

Asked what he would do if Labour refused to vote for an election, he said: “We would campaign day after day for the people of this country to be released from subjection to a Parliament that has outlived its usefulness.”

A few weeks, a few months, a few years? Or perhaps no extension at all.

Although the EU has yet to decide on another Brexit deadline extension, Johnson said Brussels will likely agree to London’s reluctant request for a three-month delay.

“I’m afraid it looks as though our EU friends are going to respond to Parliament’s request by having an extension, which I really don’t want at all,” Johnson said on Thursday.

‘We cannot risk further paralysis’

In his letter to Corbyn, Johnson also mulled the possibility of the EU offering only a brief extension to November 15 or November 30.

“This would, obviously, be my preference but I was legally prevented by Parliament and the courts from suggesting this,” Johnson wrote to the Labour leader.

“If the EU offers the delay that Parliament has requested — that is, we must stay in until 31 January — then it is clear that there must be an election. We cannot risk further paralysis,” he added.

Johnson has already tried to force an early election twice since taking power in July, but failed to gain lawmakers’ support both times. Labour has previously said they would not support an election unless the possibility of a no-deal Brexit is eliminated.

The opposition party did not immediately respond to Johnson’s latest push for an election.

Voters accepting of violence for their way on Brexit

The years-long Brexit debate has sparked an emotionally charged politicial crisis, with a majority of voters now believing that violence against lawmakers is a “price worth paying” for their preferred outcome on leaving the EU.

A survey released on Thursday showed that both pro-Leave and pro-Remain voters in England, Wales, and Scotland are willing to accept violence against MPs. However, Leave voters were significantly more ready to see violence as “a price worth paying.”

In the pro-Remain camp, 58% of participants in England, 53% in Scotland and 56% Wales agreed with the statement, compared to 71% of Leavers in England, 60% in Scotland and 70% in Wales.

Researchers at Cardiff University and the University of Edinburgh also asked if the voters if they were willing to accept protests where members of the public are badly injured, marking similar results.

France wants reasons for more delay

Also on Thursday, France’s European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said Paris would agree on the extension if London can provide reasons for it.

“The French position is to give more time if it’s justified, if we understand why we’re doing it; some time to ratify (Britain’s Brexit accord) obviously, … If we’re told ‘We want to have elections,’ we’ll look at the question of elections,” she told France’s RTL broadcaster.

“It’s not a matter of ultimatums, it’s an issue of clarity,” the minister said in an interview.

dj/stb (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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