Brexit: Opposition parties to reject prime minister′s second election bid | News | DW | 06.09.2019
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Brexit: Opposition parties to reject prime minister's second election bid

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led talks with UK opposition parties on Friday, resolving not to back Boris Johnson's second move for a general election. The prime minister is planning a vote in Parliament on Monday.

UK opposition parties announced on Friday that they will reject Prime Minister Boris Johnson's second bid for a general election when he once more asks Parliament to vote on the issue on Monday.

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, Johnson needs two-thirds of the House of Commons to vote in favor of calling an election. But Labour and other opposition parties are unwilling to go to the polls unless they can ensure that Johnson will not take the UK out of the EU on October 31 without a withdrawal agreement.

Johnson is demanding a vote before the EU summit in mid-October. He already lost an initial vote in Parliament to call a general election on Wednesday.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn led talks on Friday with the main opposition parties: the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Welsh party Plaid Cymru.

A spokeswoman from the Liberal Democrats said afterwards that they had decided not to support Johnson's second attempt for a general election on October 14: "As a group we will all vote against or abstain on Monday."

The parliamentary leader of the Scottish National Party, Ian Blackford, said that his party is ready to face Johnson in a general election "when the time is right." Liz Saville Roberts, deputy leader of Plaid Cymru, said "I do not trust the prime minister to do his duty."

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'Sensational paradox'

The Labour Party also stressed that in the talks the party leaders agreed to continue attempts to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and that they would call for a general election after that was secured.

Prime Minister Johnson was unimpressed by attempts from the opposition to prevent him from calling an election.

"All I see is Corbyn and the SNP clubbing together to try and lock us into the EU when it's time to get this thing done," he said. "It's the most sensational paradox. Never in history has the opposition party been given the chance for an election and has turned it down."

On a visit to a farm in Scotland on Friday, Johnson said he was confident in delivering a deal. "I'll go to Brussels, I'll get a deal and we'll make sure we come out on October 31," he said. When asked if he would consider resigning if he could not deliver, he said "That's not a hypothesis I'm willing to consider."

'Trust the people'

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major has called for Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings, the adviser behind the Brexit strategy and former campaign director of Vote Leave, the official campaign group for exit from the EU leading up to the 2016 election. In response, Cummings said on Friday "Really? Trust the people."

However the future is uncertain for Johnson. After 21 Conservative MPs were deselected by the party this week after opposing Johnson, he no longer has a majority in parliament, making it difficult for him to push through legislation.

The European Union says it is still waiting for proposals from the British government on how to end its political impasse. This came on the same day the High Court rejected a legal challenge over the UK suspension of Parliament.

The House of Lords will vote later on Friday on a bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit from happening.

ed/bk (AP, Reuters)

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