Belfast Telegraph

Prime Minister Boris Johnson 'considering' calling snap election - reports

Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)
Boris Johnson is facing a backlash from MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

The Prime Minister is considering calling an early general election, it has been reported, as pressure from MP's to prevent a no-deal Brexit mounts.

The BBC reports that "live discussions" are ongoing about asking Parliament for approval for a snap poll.

Boris Johnson has said the UK will leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, prompting opposition MPs and Tory rebels to join forces in a bid to take control of Commons business and stop a no-deal exit.

In response, Conservative whips have warned MPs that they face being kicked out of the party if the fail to back the Government when Parliament resumes on Tuesday.

The news comes as ahead of an unscheduled meeting between the Prime Minister and his Cabinet in Number 10 on Monday evening.

According to reports, Northern Ireland Secretary Julian was due to appear before the media near the Irish border on Monday, but was called back to London for meetings.

A Downing Street source told PA: "They will discuss Government's response to MPs seeking to take control of legislative agenda away from Government and handing it to the opposition and Corbyn without the consent of the people."

The view from Number 10 is that the expected vote on Tuesday is "an expression of confidence in (the) Government's negotiating position to secure a deal and will be treated as such".

Meanwhile, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he may meet Boris Johnson next week.

He said he would listen to alternatives to the backstop, but so far suggestions have been on just managing the border, which he told RTE was not the outcome Ireland wanted.

The European Commission has said there have been no new "concrete" proposals put forward by the UK on replacing the Irish border backstop.

The Taoiseach told RTE: "I am always willing to listen to any proposal that a British Prime Minister has.

"The backstop is a means to an end.

"It is there to ensure that we continue to have frictionless trade north and south, that there is no physical infrastructure, no checks, no controls, no tariffs.

"We want that to continue to be the case. It has been the case since 1992, we want that to continue.

"Of course, I would listen to any proposals that the British Prime Minister may have to achieve that by an alternative means and we provide for alternative arrangements in the joint political declaration.

"The difficulty is that anything we have seen so far when it comes to alternative arrangements do something very different.

"They just manage a border, they facilitate tariffs, they facilitate checks, they facilitate controls but try to do it in a way that is invisible and unobtrusive, and that is better than nothing but it is not the outcome that we want to achieve."

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