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Boris Johnson news - live: Election to be held on 12 December after plans to give vote to EU citizens and 16-year-olds dismissed

Follow all the latest developments as MPs clear way for pre-Christmas polls

Adam Forrest,Benjamin Kentish,Chris Baynes
Tuesday 29 October 2019 21:25 GMT
Parliament overwhelmingly votes to hold an early general election

Boris Johnson is set to secure a 12 December general election after MPs passed a bill to trigger a pre-Christmas poll.

The prime minister had earlier avoided a potential obstacle when the House of Commons deputy speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, refused to allow votes on Labour amendments calling for the vote to be given to EU citizens and 16- and 17-year olds.

The government had said it would pull the bill if either of the amendments passed.

MPs also voted by 315 to 295 to reject an amendment tabled by Jeremy Corbyn to change the date of the election to 9 December, three days earlier than ministers wanted.


Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of events at Westminster.

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:28

PM set to ask MPs for election for fourth time

Boris Johnson is expected to make yet another attempt to get the general election he so wants today, having failed on Monday to get the two-thirds majority he needed under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA).

The prime minister’s fourth effort to go to the polls will see government put forward a one-line bill “almost identical” – to use a No 10 official’s phrase – to the one proposed by the Lib Dems and SNP.

The crucial difference is the date, with Johnson sticking to his desired 12 December date despite the opposition parties’ insistence on 9 December.

Remember, with the one-line bill to bypass the FTPA, Johnson only needs a simple majority to succeed.

All the details here.

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:28

Special Brexit coins will be destroyed

If you missed the big admission last night, the Treasury revealed that thousands of 50p commemorative coins emblazoned with 31 October – the date the UK was supposed to leave the  EU  – will be scrapped, shredded and melted down.

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:31

Chuka Umunna hints at Lib Dem election date compromise

Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna has said his party is against holding an election on Boris Johnson’s preferred polling date of December 12.

“It cannot be the 12th,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “If you have the 12th, it presents an opportunity for the government to try and get their Withdrawal Agreement Bill through. We know that they have a record of going back on their promises and breaking the law, so we cannot trust them on that.”

However, Umunna signalled the Lib Dems could be flexible over their own preferred election date of December 9.

He said: “We will see what else they come forward with. We have got to break the gridlock.

Umunna said the party would now consider an election date “earlier in the week” – hinting that 10 or 11 December would be acceptable.

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:34

Philip Hammond claims government is now ‘blocking Brexit’

Former Tory chancellor Philip Hammond, who lost the party whip over his Brexit stance, told the Today programme: “I fear that the real narrative here is that the Vote Leave activists, the cohort that has seized control in Downing Street, and to some extent in the headquarters of the Conservative party, wants this general election to change the shape of the Conservative party in parliament.

“To get rid of a cohort of MPs that it regards as not robust enough on this issue and to replace them with hardliners.”

Referring to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Hammond said: “Last Tuesday parliament signalled very clearly that it was willing to progress this bill.

“It is the government that has blocked it. And the government should now stop blocking Brexit, allow parliament to get on with the Brexit Bill and deliver Brexit by the end of November.

“The idea that now we would use our precious time to halt all of this process for five or six weeks and go out and have a general election frankly appals me.

“I think the government is trying to create a narrative that parliament is blocking Brexit and therefore we need an election. But, that is simply untrue.”

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:37

Former civil service chief says winter poll ‘not a good idea’

The former head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake – currently advising the Labour party – says winter elections “are not a good idea”.

He said: “They’re not good for the people campaigning. They’re not good for the voters. There’s a reason why we hold elections in May and we should hold onto that.”

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 08:57

Labour frontbencher says winter election ‘a distraction’

Could Labour still end up backing a pre-Christmas poll? Labour MP Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade secretary, is the first of the party’s big-hitters to discuss the idea of an election today.

“This is a distraction,” he said. “Boris Johnson promised he would leave on 31 October – deal or no deal dire in a ditch and all the rest of it – and then when he realised he couldn’t do that he made the issue over a general election and the timing of a general election.”

Earlier, on the Today programme, Gardiner was asked what it would take to get Labour to back an election: “The first thing, I think, would be to ensure that students are not going to be disenfranchised by the date of the election.”

Pressed on whether December 9 would be more acceptable than December 12, Gardiner said: “It certainly would.”

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 09:12

Fury at Lib Dems for going for election before Final Say vote

Plenty of second Brexit referendum backers have expressed their anger at the Liberal Democrats for the party’s new strategy of backing a pre-Christmas general election.

MP Chuka Umunna said the party wants a 9 December poll, but also suggested the Lib Dems would consider an election date “earlier in the week” – hinting that 10 or 11 December would be acceptable.

Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, a keen supporter of a Final Say public vote, challenged Umunna on Twitter: “How do you know more about potential Labour/Tory MP backers for a Final Say People’s Vote in this Parliament than we & Tory MPs do?”

Fellow Labour MP Steve Reed also dismissed Umunna’s call to put aside the idea of a People’s Vote until a general election is held.


Adam Forrest29 October 2019 09:24

SNP’s Westminster leader says he will ‘wait and see’ on 12 December election bill

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, has said he does not accept that a general election could return a Conservative majority and a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking on BBC Scotland's Good Morning Scotland radio programme, he said: “I don’t accept that … It’s up to the Labour party and others in England and Wales to do their job in defeating the Conservatives. We will do that in Scotland.

“But the simple fact remains that we cannot is that we cannot sit back and allow this Prime Minister take us out of Europe.

He added: “We want to see Boris Johnson defeated and out of Number 10.”

Johnson is expected to ask MPs to vote for an early general election for the fourth time, in a vote on the Commons on Tuesday for a December 12 ballot.

The SNP and Lib Dems support an election on December 9, believing it could prevent the Withdrawal Agreement Bill being passed.

Blackford would not reveal how the party planned to vote for on December 12 election, saying he would “wait and see what’s in the bill”.

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 09:31

No 10 ready to compromise to agree 11 December election?

According to the Politics Home website’s editor Kevin Schofield, the government would be willing to offer a compromise with the Lib Dems and SNP and agree an election on Wednesday, 11 December. But will they accept? And what would Labour do?

Adam Forrest29 October 2019 09:34

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