Boris Johnson will move to call general election if rebel MPs try to block no-deal Brexit
Boris Johnson has warned that he will move to call a general election if MPs attempt to take over the running order of parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
In a speech outside Number 10, Johnson said he did not want to call a general election, but there were “no circumstances” in which he would ask Brussels to delay Brexit.
Downing Street confirmed afterwards that if measures to try to block the UK from leaving the EU on 31 October go ahead on Tuesday, the Prime Minister would propose a motion on Wednesday calling for a snap election on 14 October.
The Prime Minister said: “I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay.
“We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts.
“We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.
“Armed and fortified with that conviction, I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October – a deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise – and in the meantime let our negotiators get on with their work without that sword of Damocles over their necks.
“And without an election, which I don’t want and you don’t want."
Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, a two-thirds majority of MPs is needed to vote to hold a general election in between the fixed five-year period, so Labour would also need to support the motion for it to be passed, but the indications are that the party would support this.
Jeremy Corbyn has said that Labour would be “delighted” to fight an election – something he has been calling for – despite a warning from Tony Blair that it was an “elephant trap” for Labour and some reluctance from other senior figures within the party for a general election at this time.
But although the approval of MPs is needed to call a general election, it is the Prime Minister who sets the date, leading to fears by some pro-Remain MPs that the election could be delayed until after 31 October, preventing parliament from stopping a no-deal Brexit.