Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street.

Boris’ new early election plan to end Brexit chaos

UK PRIME Minister Boris Johnson will try another tactic to force an early election as the country remains in the grip of a Brexit impasse.

It comes after Mr Johnson failed to gain the two-thirds majority backing in parliament he required to send Brits back to the polls.

About 299 MPs supported the motion for an early election, well short of the 434 votes Mr Johnson needed.

A total of 299 MPs voted in support of his proposal, with 70 against, but he did not secure the backing of the two-thirds of the 650 MPs required by law to pass the motion.

The main opposition Labour Party largely abstained.

But Mr Johnson said he would try again on Tuesday (local time), using a different procedure: a bill, which only needs a simple majority to pass.

"One way or another, we must proceed to an election," he told British MPs. "Later on this evening the government will give notice of presentation of a short bill for an election on December 12 so we can finally get Brexit done.

"This house cannot any longer keep this country hostage. Millions of families and businesses cannot plan for the future," he said.

Mr Johnson runs a minority Conservative government. He is pushing for a general election to try to secure a majority in parliament which would enable him to get the required support to approve his divorce deal with Brussels.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election. Picture: AP
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election. Picture: AP

BREXIT DELAYED AGAIN

It was the second blow in the space of a few hours for the British PM.

Earlier, he called on the European Union to rule out any more Brexit extensions, after Brussels prolonged the tortuous negotiations for the third time.

Mr Johnson told European Council president Donald Tusk in a letter on Monday (local time) he accepted the decision but added he "would also urge EU Member States to make clear that a further extension after 31 January (2020) is not possible".

Mr Johnson grudgingly accepted the three-month delay to the UK's departure from the EU, but stressed that he's doing it against his will and urged the EU to grant no more delays.

"I have no discretion to do anything other than confirm the UK's formal agreement to this extension," he said in the letter to Mr Tusk.

He called the delay "unwanted" and said it was "imposed on this government against its will."

Mr Johnson requested the delay on the orders of British parliament.

The delay was approved before UK parliament voted on whether to call an early election.

Mr Tusk confirmed the delay.


"The EU 27 has agreed that it will accept the UK's request for a Brexit flextension until January 31 2020," he said in a statement on Twitter.

"The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure."

The "flextension" allows for the UK to leave early if Britain can sign off on its deal earlier, but it throws added pressure on Mr Johnson who has been desperately trying to find a way out of the EU.

 

 

Mr Johnson is seeking a snap election to secure a majority capable of passing his divorce deal.

He said after losing the vote he would try again to secure a December election with a new bill in parliament.

Opposition parties said they wanted an election, but not on the prime minister's terms.

The opposition Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party plan to try to secure a December 9 election using a different procedure, and without a Brexit deal being done.

Mr Johnson would be taking a risk by accepting the new proposal because it would allow the Liberal Democrats to campaign for a second referendum on Brexit.

The SNP would use the poll, where they are widely tipped to pick up seats, to push for a second referendum on Scottish independence after a 2014 poll failed.

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act would need to be changed for December 9 poll to work.

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said her poll made sense.

 

European Council President Donald Tusk agreed to grant the extension. Picture: AFP
European Council President Donald Tusk agreed to grant the extension. Picture: AFP

"Clearly, it's three further days away from Christmas and I understand that the public appetite for an election around Christmas is not necessarily high so I think from the point of view of the economy and retailers, keeping it as far away as possible is helpful," she said.

The delay is the third time the EU has extended Brexit.

Previous delays cost former prime minister Theresa May her job, with Mr Johnson taking over the leadership in July.

 

Mr Johnson however only had a slim majority when taking over and lost that when he kicked out 21 MPs for voting against his plans for a no deal election on October 31.

He now has a deficit of as many as 45 votes in the House of Commons, which was why he has been pushing relentlessly for a new election to break the deadlock in parliament.

France had been pushing for a shorter deadline than January 31 but dropped its opposition.

 

 

stephen.drill@news.co.uk



Father of Coffs man who died frustrated by not knowing

premium_icon Father of Coffs man who died frustrated by not knowing

He is frustrated at a lack of information from Foreign Affairs.

Volcano tragedy: More Aussie victims named

premium_icon Volcano tragedy: More Aussie victims named

White Island volcano blast: More Aussie victims named

The crimes that shocked the coast in 2019

premium_icon The crimes that shocked the coast in 2019

From murder to drugs, here's the biggest crime stories of 2019.