UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has again failed in his drive to call an early election, as he sought to break the political deadlock over Britain’s departure from the European Union.
A total of 299 MPs on Monday night backed Johnson’s latest bid – his third – but with opposiiton parties abstaining and 70 MPs voting against, the prime minister did not secure the backing of the two-thirds of the 650 MPs required by law to pass the motion.
After the vote, Johnson said the government would try again, on Tuesday, with legislation aimed at amending the law requiring a “super-majority” to only require a simple majority – hopeful that winning an election could change the parliamentary arithmetic and allow him to push his Brexit deal through into law.
Earlier in the day,Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, promised to “consider carefully” any legislation which “locks in” the date of a general election.
Corbyn appeared to offer a warmer response to a poll on December 9, as mooted by the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, rather than the government’s bid for a December 12 ballot box showdown.
The three-day difference would mean there would be no parliamentary time for Johnson to force his Brexit deal through the legislative process in the coming days. Johnson’s many parliamentary opponents are wary of handing the prime minister such a key victory days before any crunch election.
Corbyn insisted Labour wants a no-deal Brexit to be “definitely and definitively” taken off the table, adding any election plan must ensure the voting rights of “all of our citizens are protected”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Corbyn said the prime minister “cannot be trusted” and had “abandoned” his Queen’s Speech, Budget and Brexit deal.
The Labour leader added: “He said he would never ask for an extension and he said he would rather die in a ditch – another broken promise.”