Boris Johnson's Plan For A 12 December General Election Defeated
28 October 2019, 20:07 | Updated: 29 October 2019, 07:51
The government has suffered another defeat after Boris Johnson's bid for a pre-Christmas general election was quashed in the House of Commons.
A total of 299 MPs voted for the government and 70 voted against Boris Johnson's plan under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act to hold an election on 12 December.
However, this falls short of the two-thirds majority needed under the FTPA by 135 votes.Labour abstained as expected with Jeremy Corbyn being unwilling to support the prime minister until No Deal was ruled out.The prime minister needed 434 MPs to agree to his set date which could have allowed Brexit to take place prior to a nationwide ballot.
However, Monday's defeat means the government are now considering a proposal put forward by the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party to hold an election three days earlier.
Prior to the vote, the Prime Minister argued the current Parliament had "run its course." He said: "I simply do not believe that this House is capable of delivering on the priorities of the people, whether that means Brexit or anything else."
Earlier on Monday the EU agreed to a flexible extension of Article 50 to 31 January 2020 - which will enable the UK to leave if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill becomes law - meaning the UK will no longer be leaving the bloc on Mr Johnson's "do or die" date of 31 October.
As a result the Lib Dems and the SNP, who also opposed the government, will instead work together to push for a 9 December election now the EU have granted an extension.
Lid Dem leader Jo Swinson argued for keeping the election date as far away from Christmas as possible, which would be in the best interest of the economy and would enable university students to vote in their university towns before travelling home for Christmas.
However, Tory ministers and party members are split on whether to push for an election before Brexit has been concluded.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would "consider carefully" legislation that locks in the date of an election, suggesting he could support the 9 December plan.
A Number 10 source said the government will introduce an "almost identical" Bill to the plans put forward by the Lib Dems and the SNP.
However, any amendments made by the Conservatives would need to be analysed by the pro-Remain parties to ensure the Bill contains protections against No Deal. Swinson said she wanted to stop Johnson from "ramming through his Brexit Bill" and remove any "wriggle room" he had around his proposals.
This defeat becomes Boris Johnson's third loss in Parliament over a general election.