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MPs reject Boris Johnson’s motion to hold general election on 15 October

Members of Parliament earlier voted to delay Brexit in a bid to stop Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured in the House of Commons today.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pictured in the House of Commons today.
Image: House of Commons/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated Sep 4th 2019, 10:17 PM

BRITISH MPS HAVE voted against holding a general election on 15 October.

MPs backed the government motion by 298 votes to 56 votes.

However, the required two-thirds majority (434 votes) was not met as 214 Labour Party members abstained. Three Labour MPs voted for the bill and 28 against.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson tabled the motion after MPs earlier voted in favour of a bill which, if passed in the House of Lords, will extend Brexit until at least 31 January 2020 (if a deal is not agreed by 19 October) in an attempt to avoid the UK leaving the European Union without a deal.

MPs backed the bill by 327 votes to 299 votes.

Johnson said the bill was “without precedence in the history” of the House of Commons and its passage amounted to “forcing him to surrender in international negotiations”.

“I refuse to do this … therefore there is is only one way forward,” he said when announcing earlier this evening that he would push for a general election. 

Speaking after the result of the election motion, Johnson said: “48 hours ago, [Corbyn] was leading the chants of, ‘Stop the coup, let the people vote’. Now he’s saying, ‘Stop the election and stop the people voting’.”

I think he has become the first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation to an election.

“I can only speculate as to the reasons behind his hesitation. The obvious conclusion is, I’m afraid, that he does not think he will win.”

‘Snow White’s apple’

The Labour Party earlier said it would back an election once the threat of a no-deal Brexit is removed.

Prior to the vote on the election motion, Corbyn said:

The offer of the election today is a bit like the offer of an apple to Snow White from the wicked queen. What he’s offering is not an apple or even an election, but the poison of a no deal,” Corbyn said prior to the vote on the general election.

Corbyn criticised Johnson’s perceived lack of strategy, saying “he can’t tell us what it is”, adding: “The bigger problem for him is that he hasn’t told the EU what it is either.”

“At prime minister’s question time today, as with the statement yesterday, he was unable to say whether he has even made any proposals whatsoever to the EU.

“Basically, it’s a policy cloaked in mystery like the emperor’s new clothes. There really is absolutely nothing there,” Corbyn added.

With reporting by Orla Dwyer

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Órla Ryan

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