Boris Johnson wants to hold a snap election to shake up Parliament. (House of Commons via PA via AP)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has demanded an October 15 snap election after MPs seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in Parliament, which he cast as an attempt to surrender to the European Union.
- Boris Johnson accuses Jeremy Corbyn of of supporting a policy of “dither and delay”
- Mr Johnson’s bid for an election needs the backing of two-thirds of MPs
- Today’s planned events include a vote on the attempt to block no deal and a vote on Mr Johnson’s election bid
Parliament’s move leaves Brexit up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole endeavour — both outcomes would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom’s voters.
An alliance of opposition MPs backed by 21 rebels from Mr Johnson’s Conservative Party defeated the Government on Tuesday (local time) on a motion allowing them to try to pass a law that would force a three-month extension to Britain’s EU exit date.
Mr Johnson cast the rebellion as an attempt to surrender to the EU, vowed never to delay Brexit beyond October 31 and challenged opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree to an October 15 election.
He said the opposition’s “surrender bill” would “wreck any chance” of Britain concluding successful negotiations with the EU.
However, needing the backing of two-thirds of MPs, Mr Johnson’s bid for an election is set to be initially thwarted as opposition parties are united in wanting to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to a vote.
Mr Johnson said his strategy was to get a Brexit deal by an EU summit on October 17 and “get Brexit done”.
He said the British Government was making substantial progress and would succeed in removing the Irish border backstop.
The showdown between Prime Minister and Parliament continues on Wednesday with a dizzying array of events planned including a vote on the attempt to block no deal, a vote on Mr Johnson’s election bid and weekly questions to the Prime Minister.
‘Chlorinated chicken’: Johnson taunts Corbyn on election
At Prime Minister’s questions, a parliamentary session when MPs get to quiz the British leader every Wednesday, Mr Johnson used some choice language to attack Labour and try to rally his Conservatives after a bruising night on Tuesday.
@Jamin2g: Boris Johnson The Shadow Education Secretary says Labour’s economic policies are “shit or bust”. I say they’re both.
After losing a vote on his Brexit plans late on Tuesday, Mr Johnson was keen to get on the front foot by accusing Mr Corbyn of supporting a policy of “dither and delay” over Brexit but also of running scared of his call for an early election on October 15.
“There’s only one chlorinated chicken that I can see … and he’s on that bench,” Mr Johnson said, pointing at Mr Corbyn who has criticised the British leader’s enthusiasm for a trade deal with the United States over, among other things, concerns over food standards.
He also appeared to shout at Mr Corbyn that he was a “great big girl’s blouse” — a coward — over his decision to back an election only when a no-deal Brexit was off the agenda.
Mr Johnson wants to hold a snap election to shake up Parliament, which is deeply divided over Brexit and rejected his predecessor Theresa May’s exit deal with the EU three times.
Mr Corbyn has also repeatedly said he wants an election to ditch Mr Johnson’s “phoney, populist cabal” but first seeks to see a move to stop the Prime Minister from leading Britain out of the European Union without a deal embedded in legislation.
As the three-year Brexit crisis approaches a crescendo, the United Kingdom was edging towards an election as most British politicians see no other way to break the impasse.
One scenario is for opposition parties to defeat Mr Johnson’s bid for an election until they have passed their bill blocking a no-deal Brexit.
Once in law, opposition parties could then agree to an election.
The Government has scheduled a vote on an election after about 7:00pm (local time) on Wednesday.
Anti-Brexit demonstrators have been protesting in the streets and many are tired of the ongoing political instability. (AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth)