Will Boris Johnson Finally Get A General Election Today? Theo Usherwood Explains

29 October 2019, 08:51

Boris Johnson could get an election agreed at the fourth attempt
Boris Johnson could get an election agreed at the fourth attempt. Picture: PA / LBC

Boris Johnson will attempt for a fourth time to trigger an early General Election. LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood explains the hurdles he has to overcome.

"Government legislation for an election on 12th December should clear the Commons by tonight.

"But there are a number of things that could get in the way. The Bill does not meet the Lib Dems' requirement for a triple lock - that Boris Johnson doesn't bring back his Withdrawal Agreement Bill, that no-deal is ruled out and that the election date is set in stone.

"On the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the Government has now ruled out bringing it back, even though Boris Johnson didn't say explicitly say that in the House of Commons.

"However, MPs including Ken Clarke, Nick Boles and Lisa Nandy have tabled an amendment to it to remain in the Customs Union. Had that passed, it would probably have split the Tories, leaving PM no choice but to pull the Bill anyway.

"The other Lib Dem concern is that the Prime Minister changes the date of the election.

"But Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill told Bernard Jenkin that Parliament is dissolved exactly 25 days before polling day. If the government writes into the Election Bill a date of dissolution, that deals with any fear the date could be changed.

"Lib Dem support will be enough to get the bill through the House of Commons.

"But watch out for amendments on things like the right to vote for both EU citizens resident in the UK and 16/17-year-olds.

"That would need a change to the electoral register, something that Number 10 says is impossible in such a short space of time. If the amendments pass, they would almost certainly pull the Bill.

"Cue more stasis."