Brexit: Boris Johnson loses second attempt to trigger early general election

Defeat for PM came ahead of suspension of parliament for five weeks

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 10 September 2019 00:12 BST
Boris Johnson loses second attempt to trigger early general election

Boris Johnson has lost his second attempt to trigger an early general election in his sixth humiliating Commons defeat since becoming prime minister.

Ahead of parliament being suspended by the government for five weeks, MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit again deprived the prime minister of the required votes for an early poll in the last major showdown of the current session.

Less than a week after his first bid to seek an election was scuppered, Mr Johnson again asked the Commons to vote on a motion to bypass a law setting out that the next vote should not take place until 2022.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, the government must achieve a two-thirds majority to authorise an early general election.

MPs voted by 293 to 47 in favour of the motion, but Mr Johnson failed in reaching the required threshold to trigger an election.

It means there will be no public vote in early October, as MPs will not return to the Commons for another five weeks due to Mr Johnson's decision to prorogue parliament on Monday evening.

But an election in November still remains highly likely, as Labour is expected to throw its support behind a public vote if no-deal Brexit is avoided through an extension to the negotiating period from Brussels in mid-October.

Before the vote, however, Mr Johnson insisted he would not "ask for another delay" to Brexit as he taunted Jeremy Corbyn for not backing the election call.

Shouts of "resign" could be heard from opposition MPs, with Mr Johnson continuing: "It's plain from the turbulent reaction of the benches opposite that they simply want another delay and I will not have that.

"I must warn members that their behaviour in thwarting the will of the people is undermining respect for this House in the country.

"If honourable members want a delay, the only proper way to do it is to ask permission from our masters the people, from our masters the voters."

Mr Corbyn said: "The only point of any importance the prime minister's just included in his speech is his clear indication that he does not intend to follow the law that has just been passed that requires him to ask for an extension in certain circumstances."

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