MPs reject early general election in further blow to Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.

MPs have rejected an early general election as Boris Johnson suffered two defeats in a day.

The PM’s bid to go tot he polls on October 15 failed to win the required support of two thirds of MPs after Labour abstained from the vote. 298 of the required 434 MPs voted yes to an election.

It followed a humiliating defeat that saw MPs approve a bill blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson accused Jeremy Corbyn of wanting to “stop the people from voting”.

He said: “I think there is only one solution, I think he has become the first, to my knowledge, the first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation to an election.

“And I can only speculate as to the reasons behind his hesitation. The obvious conclusion, I’m afraid, is that he does not think he will win.”

But Labour refused to back an election while no deal was still a possibility.

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Jeremy Corbyn said the Bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit must be passed through the Lords and have received Royal Assent before his party would back a snap election.

He said: “Let the Bill pass and have Royal Assent and then we can have a general election.”

Ian Blackford, leader of the Scottish National Party, also voted against an election, saying his party ‘will not be party to the prime minister’s games’.

Britain's opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London, Wednesday Sept. 4, 2019. (House of Commons via PA via AP)
Jeremy Corbyn refused to back an early general election. (House of Commons via PA via AP)

The PM put pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to get Labour to back a vote for an early general election.

He said: “He has demanded an election for two years while blocking Brexit.

“He said only two days ago that he would support an election and now Parliament, having passed a Bill that destroys the ability of Government to negotiate, is he now going to say that the public can’t be allowed an election to decide which of us sorts out this mess?”

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The defeat came after Parliament voted against a no-deal Brexit in a crushing blow to the Prime Minister.

MPs voted by a margin of 327 votes to 299 to back a bill that seeks to delay Brexit beyond October 31 unless a deal is approved by Parliament or Parliament agrees to a no-deal exit by October 19.

This means Mr Johnson has lost all three votes as Prime Minister so far.

It is a particular blow to the man who presented himself as the candidate most willing to tackle the challenges of a no-deal Brexit during the Conservative leadership election race.

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