'Zombie Parliament' deliberates December election
25 October 2019, 17:36
The Prime Minister will keep pushing for an election even if opposition MPs repeatedly refuse a pre-Christmas poll, Chancellor Sajid Javid has said.
The Minister told LBC the government had "tried everything possible to get Brexit done by 31 October" but "Parliament's outrageous" request for an extension will likely be granted by the European Union.
Boris Johnson was forced to send a letter to EU chiefs under the Benn Act requesting an extension to Article 50, however he controversially refused to sign it.
Donald Tusk recommended the EU27 leaders grant that request earlier in the week, however a decision was expected to be announced by the President of the European Council later on Friday.
Instead the principle of a Brexit extension has been agreed but the final verdict on its length and implementation will be delayed until the House of Commons holds a vote on an election on Monday.
If the government loses Monday's vote, the outcome of the EU's decision may help the UK Prime Minister's chances of being granted a December election.
Mr Javid continued: "This is a zombie Parliament. It is completely paralysed. It is not getting on with business in the interests of the British people. We have to put that to an end and let the British people decide who should govern them."
"If we go back to Parliament with this deal without an agreement on an election, that means there'll be no deadline to the timetable, the debate in Parliament.
"One thing you can be sure of is whenever Jeremy Corbyn sees opportunity for dither and delay, he goes for it."
However, Labour's chief whip Nick Brown has offered the government the opportunity to agree a new timetable for the Bill which could be amended to include a permanent customs union, something the Tory's would likely oppose.
Mr Johnson said on Thursday he would give MPs more time to consider his Withdrawal Agreement Bill if they agreed to an election on 12 December.
A vote could not take place any later in the month as it would disrupt schools' - often used as polling stations - preparations for Christmas, such as their nativity plays.
Labour is unlikely to give an election the green light until No Deal is taken off the table, meaning the UK leader will be unlikely to get the two-thirds majority he would need in the Commons to push through a ballot.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said the Labour Party needs an "explicit commitment" that a no-deal scenario is ruled out.
She said: "The Labour Party is definitely up for an election, but there are two things we need to know. One is what sort of extension the EU is going to give and as you say we won't know until Monday."
Ms Abbott also said No Deal needed to be taken out of the picture.
SNP MP Ian Blackford said there should be an election "as early as possible" once the EU grants a Brexit extension and suggested 5 December as a potential date.
He said: "The closer you move towards Christmas . . . people are obviously looking at nativity plays, Christmas parties, the unavailability of halls and schools and all the rest of it.
"It's better to get this done as soon as is practically possible. December 5 would be an awful lot easier than it would be leaving it an extra week and getting right into that Christmas run-up period."