Prime Minister calls for snap General Election on December 12

24 October 2019, 16:52

The Prime Minister has announced the date he wants to hold a General Election
The Prime Minister has announced the date he wants to hold a General Election. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson said he will give Parliament more time to scrutinise his Brexit deal if MPs agree to hold a general election on December 12 but Jeremy Corbyn has shot his plans down.

Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed the Government will table a motion in the Commons calling for a general election on Monday.

On Thursday the Prime Minister told reporters: "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 December 12."

A Number 10 source said the Government would pull the Withdrawal Agreement Bill if MPs refuse their timetable and instead "campaign at every stage and at every opportunity for a general election".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he will only back Boris Johnson's offer of a general election when a no-deal Brexit is "off the table."

In an interview, the Labour leader 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."

Boris Johnson's move comes as it looks certain the EU will grant the UK a fresh extension to the Brexit deadline until January after the PM was forced - under the terms of the so-called Benn Act - to request a further extension.

He has said that if that happened he would abandon his attempts to get his Brexit deal through Parliament and go for an election instead.

However, under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act he needs two-thirds of MPs to support his move before he is able to go to the country.

His two previous attempt to do so have been blocked because Labour has refused to support him.

Tory MP James Cleverly tweeted to suggest the Prime Minister was giving opposition parties what they wanted.

Boris Johnson has written to the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to say "Parliament must get Brexit done now or a NEW Parliament must get Brexit done so the country can move on."

The Prime Minister used Twitter to show a letter he had sent to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr Johnson Wrote: "In our meeting yesterday you suggested that we propose a new timetable for getting the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) through Parliament.

"This Parliament has, with your encouragement, voted repeatedly for delay. The vote on Tuesday was Parliament's last chance to get Brexit done before 31 October and it voted, again, for delay. I am extremely sceptical this habit will change and many will doubt that this Parliament will do anything other than waste more time and then, in January, ask for yet another delay."

It ended: "This Parliament has refused to take decisions. It cannot refuse to let the voters replace it with a new Parliament that can make decisions. Prolonging this paralysis into 2020 would have dangerous consequences for businesses, jobs and for basic confidence in democratic institutions, already badly damaged by the behaviour of Parliament since the referendum. Parliament cannot continue to hold the country hostage.

"You have repeatedly said that once the EU accepts Parliament's request for a delay until 31 January, then you would immediately support an election. I assume this remains your position and therefore you will support an election next week so the voters can replace this broken Parliament."

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