Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Boris Johnson’s bid for early election clears first Commons hurdle

The Prime Minister wants to go to the polls on December 12 – declaring the need for a ‘new and revitalised’ Parliament.

Boris Johnson wants an election on December 12 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Boris Johnson wants an election on December 12 (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor

Boris Johnson’s bid for a pre-Christmas general election has cleared its first Commons hurdle.

The Prime Minister wants to go to the polls on December 12 – declaring the need for a “new and revitalised” Parliament which is able to deliver Brexit.

MPs backed his Early Parliamentary General Election Bill at second reading without a formal vote early on Tuesday evening.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was clear an “overwhelming majority” of parliamentarians were in support of the legislation at second reading.

But MPs could seek to amend the Bill as it undergoes further scrutiny in the Commons later on Tuesday.

They may vote to move the election to Monday December 9 after Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle selected a Labour amendment – which has Lib Dem support – seeking to change the date.

But the Government is understood to be opposed to bringing the proposed polling date forward by three days, and sees the amendment as an attempt to scupper an election.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that a December 9 poll would not be “logistically possible”.

Sir Lindsay did not select amendments which would have granted votes for 16 and 17-year-olds and EU citizens with settled status.

A Number 10 source had warned that the Government would pull the Bill if the amendments succeeded.

If the bid for a December 9 election succeeds, Parliament would have to be dissolved on Friday morning.

bpanews_dd1ba999-f3fa-4ab9-b48e-38ba91e3bed0_embedded247955064
(PA Graphics)

However Parliament would be dissolved on November 6 if the Government’s Bill for a December 12 election passes unamended.

Opening the debate on his Bill, Mr Johnson took aim at Mr Corbyn’s previous opposition to an election, and claimed Labour was not interested in delivering Brexit.

“All they want to do is procrastinate,” the PM told the Commons.

“They don’t want to deliver Brexit on October 31, on November 31, even on January 31.”

He added: “They just want to spin it out forever, until the 12th of never. And when the 12th of never eventually comes around, they’ll devise one of their complicated parliamentary procedures and move a motion for a further delay and a further extension then.”

Mr Johnson said an election was needed because delaying Brexit is “seriously damaging to the national interest”, while a fresh Parliament would have a “new mandate to deliver on the will of the people and get Brexit done”.

Mr Corbyn had earlier announced that he would back a pre-Christmas election now that a no-deal Brexit was “off the table” – saying he could not wait to “get out there on the streets” and fight the campaign.

However, some of his own MPs have ruled out backing a general election on Tuesday, including Anna Turley and Kevan Jones, while Barry Sheerman said it was “sheer madness” to hold a December poll.

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph