General election vote result: Boris Johnson to continue bid for snap poll before Christmas after Commons defeat

Katy Clifton
Prime Minister Boris Johnson: REUTERS

Boris Johnson is to push on with efforts to secure a December 12 election after he suffered a defeat in the Commons tonight when MPs rejected his third attempt to go to the country.

In a vote on the Prime Minister's motion for a snap poll on December 12, 299 MPs voted in favour of a general election, while 70 voted against it.

However, Mr Johnson's election bid, which was made under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), required a two-thirds Commons majority, 434 MPs, to pass.

The division list showed 280 Tory MPs voted for the snap election motion along with 18 Independents and Labour MP Kate Hoey.

Those who voted against the motion included 38 Labour MPs, four Independents, 18 Liberal Democrats, four Plaid Cymru, five Independent Group for Change and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Straight after the defeat, Mr Johnson told MPs the Government will give notice of a short Bill for an election in December.

Boris Johnson standing and speaking at the beginning of a debate (PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

He said he would continue to press for a December 12 polling day - even though the Liberal Democrats and the SNP suggested at the weekend they could support a slightly earlier date of December 9.

The Prime Minister said: “The leader of the Opposition literally and figuratively has run away from the judgment of the people.”

Mr Johnson continued: “But as I said when moving the motion, we will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election.

“So later on this evening, the Government will give notice of presentation for 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.”

Mr Johnson concluded: “Now that no-deal is off the table, we have a great new deal, and it’s time for the voters to have a chance to pronounce on that deal and to replace this dysfunctional Parliament with a new Parliament that can get Brexit done so the country can move on.”

Boris Johnson speaks during the election debate (PA)

The one-clause motion to amend the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act will be laid tonight, a Downing Street source said.

The source also said that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) to implement Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal will not be put back to MPs.

The No 10 source said: “Tonight we are laying a one-clause motion to amend the FTPA and call an election with the named day of December 12. The Bill is very similar to the LD/SNP Bill.

“The WAB will not be put back. This is the way to get Brexit done so the country can move on.”

With no overall Commons majority, Mr Johnson will still need the votes of some opposition MPs if he is to get the Bill - which will get its second reading Commons debate on Tuesday - through Parliament.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (AP)

Following the vote, Jeremy Corbyn said Labour - who abstained on the FTPA motion - would want to scrutinise whatever the Government put forward.

He said it had to be clear that the Government could not force through a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of Parliament.

"We look forward to a clear, definitive decision that no deal is absolutely off the table and there is no danger of this Prime Minister not sticking to his word because he has some form on these matters," he said.

However, with Labour MPs opposed to an election, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald later indicated they were unlikely to change their position and back the Government.

"I think it's very unwise to be having a general election in the run-up to Christmas," he told Sky News.

While the Lib Dems did not rule out backing the Government, party leader Jo Swinson indicated that they would not accept the proposed December 12 election day.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson (PA)

The party joined with the SNP over the weekend in suggesting they would table a Bill for a December 9 election.

Ms Swinson said: "If Boris Johnson wants a general election, then he could have supported our Bill for a general election on December 9.

"Instead, he has chosen to stick to his original plan for December 12 which we have already rejected."

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford said they would need a "cast-iron guarantee" that the Prime Minister would not try to bring back his Brexit deal to Parliament.

He told MPs: "It is clear that there is a desire on the Opposition benches to bring forward a Bill that can give us an election. But we don't trust this Prime Minister and we don't trust this Prime Minister for good reason.

"So the Prime Minister, if he is going to bring forward a Bill, must give an absolute cast-iron assurance that up until the passage of that Bill and the rising of Parliament, that there will be no attempt to bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB)."

Government sources confirmed ministers did not intend to bring back the WAB, which was put on hold last week after Mr Johnson failed in his attempt to fast-track it through the Commons in just three days.

However they suggested the proposed Lib Dem-SNP timetable - which would mean Parliament would have to be dissolved at one minute past midnight on Friday morning, was simply too tight to deliver.

A No 10 source said: "We are laying a one-clause motion to amend the FTPA and call an election with the named day of December 12.

"The Bill is very similar to the Lib Dem-SNP Bill. The WAB will not be put back. This is the way to get Brexit done so the country can move on."

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