Belfast Telegraph

Boris Johnson loses bid for early general election as DUP MPs abstain

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the government will put forward a motion tomorrow for a short bill proposing a 12 December election.

Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Boris Johnson has lost his bid for an early general election after the DUP's 10 MPs abstained on the motion.

The Prime Minister had earlier urged MPs to back an early general election on December 12 as the current Parliament had "run its course".

However, the Government failed to force a snap general election, as MPs voted 299 to 70 in favour of the motion - short of the required two-thirds Commons majority.

Mr Johnson will now make a fresh attempt to drive legislation through the Commons which would only require a simple majority, and set aside the provisions of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.

DUP MPs abstained on the motion, with the party at odds with the Prime Minister over his Brexit deal, which the party says will create economic barriers between Northern Ireland and its biggest market in Britain.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson in the House of Commons.

During the debate, DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "The Prime Minister has claimed that anyone who does not support his demand for an early election is first of all trying to stop Brexit.

"We will not be supporting this motion tonight. But not because we are scared of the electorate, in fact, I can tell you the unionist electorate in Northern Ireland are so angry, so despairing, so bewildered, at the way in which the Prime Minister has broken his promises to the people of NI, that they would return a hundred DUP MPs if they had the option.

"We are not scared of a general election. We are not trying to stop Brexit, in fact, we have been pilloried in this house because we have been seen to be some of the most determined people to deliver Brexit.

"But the Brexit we have on offer is not a Brexit for the UK. It is a Brexit for part of the UK."

Mr Johnson, speaking after the vote, said: "The leader of the Opposition literally and figuratively has run away from the judgment of the people."

Mr Johnson continued: "But as I said when moving the motion, we will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election.

"So later on this evening, the Government will give notice of presentation for a short Bill for an election on December 12 so we can finally get Brexit done."

He added: "This House cannot any longer keep this country hostage."

Mr Johnson concluded: "Now that no-deal is off the table, we have a great new deal, and it's time for the voters to have a chance to pronounce on that deal and to replace this dysfunctional Parliament with a new Parliament that can get Brexit done so the country can move on."

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