- UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday called for a snap general election on December 12.
- The prime minister is expected to bring forward a motion next week to hold an election before Christmas.
- It would require the support of two-thirds of MPs in the House of Commons.
- Opposition parties have rejected previous election motions for fear that Johnson would take the UK out of the European Union without a deal during the election period.
- However, the EU is expected to grant the UK another Brexit delay on Friday, paving the way for opposition parties to back a fresh election.
- The Labour Party is set to back a snap election once Brexit has been delayed.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Boris Johnson has called on his opponents to back a general election on December 12 “to get Brexit done.”
The prime minister said on Thursday afternoon that a fresh election was the only way for members of Parliament to break three years of Brexit deadlock.
“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,” he said.
Johnson is expected to bring forward a motion on Monday calling on opposition parties to back a general election that would dissolve Parliament and allow Brits to go to the polls before Christmas.
The prime minister also wrote to Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn urging him to back a snap election.
Watch Johnson call for a snap general election:
—ITV News (@itvnews) October 24, 2019
Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, such a motion would require the support of at least two-thirds of MPs.
Labour’s shadow Commons leader, Valerie Vaz, said on Thursday that the party would support a snap general election if the European Union delays Brexit until next year.
Labour “will back a general election once no-deal is ruled out and … if the extension allows,” she told MPs.
The Scottish National Party also said it would back Johnson’s push for an election if a delay until 2020 is secured.
“We need to see that extension secured, and that extension must be long enough to protect us from the cliff edge of the no-deal Brexit,” MP Peter Wishart said, adding that the party “will not be pushed today by this prime minister.”
Leaders of EU countries are expected to grant the UK another three-month delay to Brexit on Friday morning, paving the way for Corbyn to back a pre-Christmas election.
Johnson on Thursday said that the additional time secured by a fresh Brexit delay would give MPs the opportunity to scrutinise and approve his Brexit deal with the EU. The prime minister aims to get the Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament by the beginning of November.
MPs earlier this week refused to back the prime minister’s plan to deliver Brexit by October 31 after accusing him of trying to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of his agreement with Brussels.
Corbyn prepares to accept Johnson’s challenge
An election can take place in the UK every five years unless two-thirds of MPs agree otherwise.
On the two previous occasions when Johnson has sought to secure that two-thirds majority, Labour and other opposition parties refused to back an early poll.
At the time, Labour justified its decision as a means of preventing Johnson from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal. The other motivating factor was a belief among some in Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet that forcing Johnson to delay Brexit instead would give Labour its best chance of winning an early election.
Some around Corbyn now believe that this latter calculation was badly misjudged and that an October election, before Johnson had secured a deal with the EU, would have been the party’s best and possibly only chance of preventing an election victory for the government.
As a result, the Labour leadership now favours an early election, preferably before Johnson has ratified a deal with the EU.
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Other opposition parties are also set to back another election once a Brexit extension has been agreed.
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