Boris Johnson calls Jeremy Corbyn 'chlorinated chicken' for blocking snap election

4 September 2019, 09:15

By Kate Buck

Boris Johnson laid down the gauntlet to Jeremy Corbyn for a snap general election calling him 'chicken' in a fiery session of PMQs after MPs seized back control of Brexit in the Commons last night.

Boris Johnson addresses Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs today
Boris Johnson addresses Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs today. Picture: pa

The prime minster was defeated by 328 votes to 301- a majority of 27- in last night's crunch vote. 21 Tories defied the whip to vote against the Government.

At a blistering PMQs session today, Mr Johnson said he still intends to get a Brexit deal done by October 17.

He also accused Mr Corbyn as a "chlorinated chicken", for refusing to back an election in October and asked: "Didn't he used to be a democrat?"

He said: "What his surrender bill would do is wreck any chance of the talks and we don't know his strategy at all.

"He's asking for mobs and Momentum activists to paralyse the traffic in his name.

"What are they supposed to chant? What is the slogan? ''What do we want? Dither and delay. When do want it? We don't know.'"

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had asked Mr Johnson for evidence of details that he is negotiating for a deal and not trying to "run down the clock".

Mr Corbyn added: "Yesterday it was revealed that the Prime Minister's negotiating strategy is to run down the clock. "And that the Attorney General told the Prime Minister that his belief that the European Union would drop the backstop was a complete fantasy. "

Are these reports accurate or can the Prime Minister provide the detail of the proposals he's put forward to the EU?"

Johnson is now calling for an election following the vote
Johnson is now calling for an election following the vote. Picture: PA

Mr Johnson said Mr Corbyn would not submit the "surrender Bill" to the verdict of the people in an election, adding: "We think the friends of this country can be found in Paris, Berlin and in the White House, and he thinks they're in the Kremlin, Tehran and in Caracas - and I think he is Caracas, Mr Speaker."

The PM listed his plans for police, the NHS and the economy before highlighting comments by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

Mr Johnson said: "The shadow education secretary says that their economic policy is, I quote Mr Speaker by your leave, 'shit-or-bust'.

"I say it's both, Mr Speaker."

In the immediate aftermath of last night's vote, Mr Johnson said Parliament was "on the brink of wrecking" Brexit negotiations with the EU.

He appeared flustered as he rose to his feet to condemn the verdict.

"Let there be no doubt about the consequences of this vote tonight,' he said. 

"It means that parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal we might be able to strike in Brussels.

"Because tomorrow's Bill would hand control of the negotiations to the EU. And that would mean more dither, more delay, more confusion.'

"And it would mean that the EU themselves would be able decide how long to keep this country In the EU. And since I refuse to go along with that plan, we are going to have to make a choice. 

"I don't want an election. The public don't want an election. But if the House votes for this Bill tomorrow, the public will have to choose who goes to Brussels on Oct 17 to sort this out and take this country forward."

Today, Mr Johnson will face a fresh test as MPs vote on whether the country should go to the polls in yet another election.

Jeremy Corbyn will block the vote for an election unless no deal is taken off the table
Jeremy Corbyn will block the vote for an election unless no deal is taken off the table. Picture: PA

Mr Johnson needs two-thirds of the House of Commons to agree to an election for one to be triggered.

Labour is planning on blocking his bid for an election on 15 October unless the Tories promise to rule out the possibility of a no deal.

Jeremy Corbyn said: "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."

Mr Johnson has dubbed Labour's bill which would bring this into law as a "surrender bill", and claimed it would keep the UK in the bloc "for as long as they want and on their terms."

He tweeted this morning: "Corbyn and his surrender bill would mean years of uncertainty and delay. I am determined to lead this country forward and take Britain out of the EU on October 31st."

As the result of the devastating vote came in, one Labour MP could be heard shouting "Not a good start Boris."

Mr Johnson has only been in power now for five weeks, but in that time has lost his party's already tiny majority after 21 of his own MPs voted against him in a bid to stop No Deal.

Mr Johnson saw the rebels defy the whip to join opposition MPs in supporting a bid to take control of the Commons agenda and pass legislation which would prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

This included eight former Cabinet ministers - including Winston Churchill's own grandson and veteran MP Ken Clarke.

All those who voted against Mr Johnson have had the whip withdrawn - leaving the government with an eye-watering majority deficit of 43.