British MPs reject calls for snap election again

2019-09-10 at 07:33

British MPs have again rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s calls for a snap election, as the five-week suspension of Parliament begins.

In all, 293 MPs voted for the prime minister’s motion for an early poll, far short of the number needed.

Earlier, opposition MPs confirmed they would not back the push for a 15 October poll, insisting a law blocking a no-deal Brexit must be implemented.

Mr Johnson has been warned he could face legal action for flouting it.

Ministers have called the law “lousy” and said they would “test to the limit” what it required of them.

At present, UK law states that the country will leave the EU on 31 October, regardless of whether a withdrawal deal has been agreed with Brussels or not.

But the new legislation, which was granted royal assent on Monday, changes that, and will force the PM to seek a delay to 31 January 2020 unless a deal – or a no-deal exit – is approved by MPs by 19 October.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said although No 10 insisted it was not looking to break the new law, efforts were under way to examine ways of getting around it.

The prime minister said the government would use the time Parliament was suspended to press on with negotiating a deal with the EU, while “preparing to leave without one”.

“No matter how many devices this Parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest,” he said.

“This government will not delay Brexit any further.

“We will not allow the emphatic verdict of the referendum to be slowly suffocated by further calculated drift and paralysis.”

Mr Johnson told MPs Mr Corbyn had previously said he would back an election if legislation to prevent the government from forcing through a no-deal Brexit on 31 October became law.

“By his own logic, he must now back an election.”

The election vote was the sixth defeat for Mr Johnson in the Commons.

BBC