PM Johnson to make second bid to call snap election in Britain's 'Brexit Duel'

2019-09-06 08:38:18Xinhua Editor : Gu Liping ECNS App Download

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is to make a second bid on Monday to call a general election is what will be a duel over Brexit between Britain's two political giants.

Johnson believes a mid-October election will allow the British public to decide whether he heads to Brussels, with his threat of a deal or no deal Brexit, or pave the way for main opposition Labour to negotiate a delay to Britain's departure from the European Union.

Johnson's first bid to win the go-ahead for an election failed in the House of Commons Wednesday, falling 136 short of the 434 needed to trigger an election.

In what will go down in history as one of the key quotes in Britain's Brexit saga, Johnson said on Thursday he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask Brussels for an extension of Britain's membership of the bloc.

Quizzed by journalists during his public statement in Yorkshire, Johnson did not answer when asked if he would resign if he failed to win his "do or die" plan to get Britain out of the EU on October 31.

If he did lose, or if he lost the keys to 10 Downing Street in an early election he would become the shortest serving prime minister in history.

Speaking at a police training center at Wakefield in Yorkshire, Johnson repeated his call for an election on October 15, saying it was the only way to get Brexit moving.

"We either go forward with our plan to get a deal, take the country out on 31 October which we can, or else somebody else should be allowed to see if they can keep us in beyond 31 October," Johnson said.

He was referring to his opposite number in the House of Commons, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

During his speech Johnson accused the British Parliament of having absolutely torpedoed the government's negotiating position.

He said: "I really don't see how we can have a situation where the British ability to negotiate is absolutely torpedoed by Parliament in this way with powers of the British people handed over to Brussels, so we can be kept incarcerated in the EU without that being put to the people in the form of a vote."

He repeated his call for Labour's Corbyn to back a general election to be held on October 15.

Labour have won the go-ahead for a crucial bill that would mean Britain asking the EU to extend its departure date to January 31, 2020 if no deal has been agreed.

Corbyn has also said in a general election Labour would hold a new EU referendum, with an option to remain in the bloc as one of the choices.

That would turn an election, when called, into a straight choice between Johnson's pledge to take Britain out of the EU, or Corbyn's option of staying.

It led one leading London newspapers to describe the two as "dueling politicians"

Ahead of the vote on Monday, Labour and other opposition parties are holding talks about their response to Johnson's call for a mid-October election. Shadow chancellor wants the poll to take place in November, beyond the current deadline date for Britain's departure from the EU.

Johnson has also faced intensive questioning from reporters after his brother, Jo Johnson, announced he was resigning both as an MP and a minister in Boris Johnson's government. He cited as his reason being torn between family loyalty and the national interest.

The prime minister said later in a television interview he and his brother had not seen eye-to-eye for a long time over Brexit.

In a reaction to Jo Johnson's decision, Labour's Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner, said: "Boris Johnson poses such a threat that even his own brother doesn't trust him.

"We need a General Election as soon as No Deal is off the table, so that a Labour government can transform our education system and society so they work for the many, not just a privileged few."

In another blow for Johnson, his Northern Ireland minister, Nick Hurd, became the latest Conservative MP to announce he will not stand at the next general election, blaming the ongoing division over Brexit.

And one time Labour shadow minister, the Liverpool MP Luciana Berger, announced she was joining the minority Liberal Democrat Party. Berger quit Labour over its handling of anti-sematic complaints.

Following Johnson's decision to suspend parliament to pave the way for a Queen's Speech, the House of Commons most close down for five weeks from next Thursday at the latest.

With resignations and suspensions of MPs for rebelling against the government, the Conservatives currently have 289 of the available 650 seats in the House of Commons. It means they are 36 short of a majority, though they have a pact with the 10 MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, still leaving them 26 short. Enditem


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