LONDON: British MPs will get another chance to vote for an early election on Monday, the government has announced. It comes after the House of Commons rejected Boris Johnson’s plan for a snap election on 15 October in a vote on Wednesday.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour wanted an election, but its priority was stopping a no-deal Brexit.The PM will later accuse Jeremy Corbyn of “a cowardly insult to democracy” for not backing his call for a poll.
Mr Johnson – who sources say regards today (Thursday) as the first day of an election campaign – will argue the Labour leader is denying people their say on the progress of Brexit.
The fresh vote on an early election is scheduled just before Parliament is due to be prorogued – or suspended – from next week until 14 October. Announcing the vote, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the suspension would begin on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but did not say precisely when.
The government-controlled commission responsible for setting the date has not yet made a decision, he added.
Opposition parties are in talks about how to respond to the prime minister’s call for a mid-October election, amid concern over whether it should be delayed until after an extension has been agreed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.
A bill aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit was approved by the Commons on Wednesday and a deal was agreed in the early hours of Thursday that Tory peers would not attempt to filibuster – talk it out – in the Lords. The government says this bill will now complete its passage through the Lords on Friday.
Number 10 said the bill “would in essence overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history – the 2016 referendum”. It added: “The PM will not do this.”
Labour and other opposition MPs say they will not back the prime minister’s call to have a general election while the option of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October remains open to Mr Johnson.
Mr McDonnell told the BBC that Labour would only agree once it had ensured the legislation to protect against a no-deal Brexit, but he would prefer to have an election “later rather than sooner”.
He said Labour was “consulting” with other opposition parties “to determine the date” of a general election.”The problem that we’ve got is that we cannot at the moment have any confidence in Boris Johnson abiding by any commitment or deal that we could construct,” he said. “So we are now consulting on whether it’s better to go long, therefore, rather than to go short.”