UK Parliament rejects Johnson′s latest bid for election | News | DW | 28.10.2019
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UK Parliament rejects Johnson's latest bid for election

Boris Johnson has attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to back a general election. The opposition Labour Party abstained in the vote, making it impossible to secure the necessary two-thirds majority.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday slammed the opposition Labour Party after it signaled its intention to vote against a general election for December 12. The motion failed, with 299 votes in favor and just 70 against. However, it fell shy of the 434 votes (two-thirds of all MPs) required to pass.

"There is one party tonight that is actually against a general election, that does not trust the people to make their voice heard, and that is the principal party of the opposition," Johnson said.

Johnson targeted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to move forward on a general election, saying: "He can run but he cannot hide. Across parliament, his supposed allies are deserting."

Smaller opposition parties, such as the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP), have signaled their intention to support a general election, though not necessarily the government's proposal. The Liberal Democrats said they would table a motion for a general election on December 9. That could go to a vote as early as Thursday.

Read more: Will the UK hold snap elections?

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Brexit: Can Westminster seal the deal?

Contested election dates

But Corbyn hit back, saying his party could consider legislation that would establish a date for a general election.

"We will consider carefully any legislation proposed that locks in the date," Corbyn said. "When no deal is off the table, when the date for an election can be fixed in law and when we can ensure students are not being disenfranchised, we will back an election."

Throughout the debate, Corbyn repeatedly said that he would only support a general election if a no-deal Brexit was formally removed as a possibility. It is unclear how that would be possible without either agreeing to the Withdrawal Agreement or canceling Brexit altogether.

Read more: Opinion: Brexit show extended for another season

Jeremy Corbyn in British Parliament

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he wants a no-deal Brexit off the table before backing a general election

Try again

After the defeat, Johnson told parliament that he would launch a renewed bid for fresh elections.

This time, rather than trying to trigger a vote under the current rules in Parliament, the government will seek to change those rules and remove the need for a two-thirds majority. This change could be made with a simple majority in the Commons, and Johnson will hope for support from the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

Earlier Monday, European Council President Donald Tusk said the EU's 27 other member states agreed to extend a British request to move the Brexit deadline from October 31 to January 31 2020. Johnson also responded saying the UK accepted the extension.

Read more: EU grants Brexit extension — so what now?

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ls/msh (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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