Parliament prorogued after PM's attempt to trigger general election rejected

10 September 2019, 00:49

Boris Johnson's attempt to trigger a general election was rejected by MPs
Boris Johnson's attempt to trigger a general election was rejected by MPs. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Parliament has been prorogued after the Prime Minister’s attempt to trigger an early general election failed.

Sittings have been suspended until the Queen's Speech on October 14 after a vote to hold a snap election did not reach the majority it required.

The prorogation ceremony was interrupted by protests from some MPs, who held signs with "silenced" written on them.

MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, appeared to try to hold on to Speaker John Bercow at the point he was requested to lead MPs to the Lords, with doorkeepers intervening.

Shouts of "shame on you" could be heard as Government MPs left the Commons to head to the House of Lords for the prorogation ceremony.

The election vote was another humiliating defeat for Boris Johnson in his second bid for a snap election.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, the vote required support from two-thirds of MPs, which it failed to reach.

293 MPs voted for an election, missing out on the required two-thirds majority by 41 votes.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to head to the polls next month to break the political deadlock, as he accused opposition parties of making "outrageous excuses" to delay.

But Labour and other opposition MPs refused to back the bid - which needed a two-thirds majority in the Commons - while the risk of a no-deal remained.

After the vote, Mr Johnson said Jeremy Corbyn had become the first leader of the opposition in the country's history to "show his confidence" in the Government "by declining the opportunity to have an election with a view to removing the Government".

But amid stormy scenes in the chamber Mr Corbyn said he would not let his party walk into "traps laid by this Prime Minister".

"This Government is only interested in shutting down Parliament to avoid any scrutiny," the Labour leader said.

The PM insisted he would not ask for another Brexit delay, despite royal assent being given to legislation requiring a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 unless a divorce deal is approved or Parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by October 19.

Mr Johnson said: "It's plain from the turbulent reaction of the benches opposite that they simply want another delay and I will not have that.

"I must warn members that their behaviour in thwarting the will of the people is undermining respect for this House in the country.

"If honourable members want a delay, the only proper way to do it is to ask permission from our masters the people, from our masters the voters."

The embarrassing defeat came after MPs voted to force his government to publish private communications relating to a No Deal Brexit.

The emergency motion - brought by former Tory MP Dominic Grieve - means ministers will have to surrender private communications by Wednesday.

MPs voted by 311 votes to 302, a majority of nine.