- Boris Johnson’s bid to hold a general election on December 12 election rejected by UK Members of Parliament.
- The opposition Labour party refused the request, saying the prime minister “cannot be trusted,” not to use the time to force Britain out of the EU.
- However, Johnson is increasingly likely to secure a December election after being handed a lifeline by the opposition Liberal Democrats on Monday..
- The opposition party plans to introduce new legislation which could allow Johnson to have an election on December 9.
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LONDON – Boris Johnson’s bid for an election on December 12 has been rejected by the UK Parliament after the opposition Labour party ordered their Members of Parliament to abstain on the vote.
The House of Commons voted by 299 votes to 70 in favour of Johnson’s request for a pre-Christmas election.
However, under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, two-thirds of all MPs need to approve any election which would take place before the next scheduled vote in 2022.
Johnson accused the Labour party of running scared of an election.
“I think the leader of the opposition has run out of excuses for running away from an election,” Johnson told the House of Commons.
“He can run, but he cannot hide forever.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he could not back the prime minister’s bid for an election as the Prime Minister . “cannot be trusted” not to use the election period in order to take Britain out of the EU without a deal.
He said that Labour were also opposed to an election on Johnson’s terms because “in parts of this country it will be dark before 4pm.”
He added: “Many students will have just finished their term and gone home for Christmas, and they risk being disenfranchised.”
However, despite rejecting Johnson’s request, Corbyn indicated that the party could back a new bill, due to be brought forward by the Liberal Democrats, which would allow a general election on December 9.
“When no-deal is off the table, when the date for an election can be fixed in law and when we can ensure students are not being disenfranchised, we will back an election,” Corbyn told MPs.
Following the vote, the Prime Minister said the government would bring forward its own piece of legislation which would allow a general election on December 12.
Such a bill could be amended by MPs to allow one on December 9.
Watch Boris Johnson on Corbyn refusing an election
-BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 28, 2019
Such a bill would give Johnson the power to dis-apply the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which normally sets elections every five years.
However, it would be dependent on Johnson accepting the three-month delay offered by the EU on Monday.
Crucially, the bill would only require a simple majority to pass, meaning that Johnson could secure an election this year thanks to some help from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, who also back the plan.
Both the SNP and Lib Dems are keen on holding a pre-Brexit election as their best route for making electoral in-roads against both the government and Labour.
Senior Liberal Democrat sources claimed on Monday that the numbers in parliament were “not there” for a second referendum, forcing them instead to back an election.