News | Published September 10 2019

MPs reject prime minister’s call for snap election for second time

Prime minister Boris Johnson has seen his move for a general election rebuffed by MPs for a second time as Parliament moved into five weeks of prorogation.

293 MPs voted in favour of a snap election, a huge margin short of the 434 required.

Opposition MPs held back from supporting an October election for a second time, having previously insisted that the law preventing a no-deal Brexit in October must first be given royal assent.

Royal assent was granted on Monday, with Parliament subsequently prorogued in the early hours of Tuesday morning until October 14.

However, despite the new law going to royal assent, opposition parties Labour, the SNP, the Lib Dems, the Green Party, Change UK and Plaid Cymru agreed prior to Monday's events in the Commons that they would again vote against an early election or abstain before prorogation that night, pushing back any election until November at the earliest.

Johnson responded by taking aim at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, highlighting that Corbyn had previously indicated that he’d back an early election if legislation preventing a no-deal Brexit in October was given royal assent.

Johnson said: "By his own logic, he must now back an election.”

Justifying the opposition's position, Corbyn informed the Commons that although Labour was “eager” for a snap election, the party was “not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities, our jobs, our services, or indeed our rights”.

Corbyn also accused Johnson of proroguing to avoid his Brexit plans coming under further scrutiny in the chamber.

The new legislation, which has received royal assent, will force the prime minister to request an extension to the Brexit deadline until January 31 2020 should a deal not be agreed or no-deal fail to win the support of a majority of MPs by October 19.

MPs also voted 311 to 302 votes in favour of the publication of documents relating to Operation Yellowhammer, the leaked file on the government's provisions for a no-deal Brexit. 

A government spokesperson confirmed that the cabinet's response would follow in due course.

Speaking on the parliamentary suspension, Johnson said that the government will seek to use the extra time to negotiate a deal with Brussels before October's EU summit, while stepping up preparations for no-deal if required.

The prime minister said: “No matter how many devices this Parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest.

"This government will not delay Brexit any further.”

On a hectic day in Parliament, Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow took the opportunity to announce his resignation, confirming in a tearful speech that he will step down by October 31.

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
September 10 2019

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