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Image: House of Commons

MPs reject Boris Johnson's second attempt to call general election

Parliament will be suspended and will resume on 14 October.
Sep 10th 2019, 12:41 AM 20,315 17

THE UK PARLIAMENT will be suspended after MPs rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s second attempt to call a general election.  

Only 293 MPs voted for an election, with 46 voting against. It did not reach the two-thirds majority of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act in order to be passed, however. 

Johnson had tried to force a 15 October general election – but the move, once again, was blocked by the opposition.

The prorogation – suspension – of parliament now takes effect for the next five weeks. Critics of Johnson have hit out at the suspension tactic saying it is a means of driving through the government’s “do or die” Brexit plans, leaving MPs with little time to debate the final Brexit outcome before 31 October deadline. 

In an attempt to avert a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, however, the so-called Benn bill became law today. 

The bill is designed to extend Article 50 and prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal. It would push the current Brexit deadline of 31 October to 31 January next year at the earliest and put a ban on a no-deal Brexit on the statute books. 

Speaking following the vote, Johnson said: “Once again, the opposition think they know better.”

“They want the British prime minister to go to a vital negotiation without the power to walk away. They want to delay Brexit yet again, without further reference to those who voted for it…And so now the house will move to adjourn and resume the state opening and the Queen’s speech on October 14, and I hope the opposition will use that time to reflect. Meanwhile, this government will press on with negotiating a deal.”

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MPs earlier this evening backed a motion requiring the release of the government’s no-deal planning documents and documents relating to the suspension of parliament. 

The motion, put forward by Dominic Grieve who lost the Conservative Party whip last week, requires the release of all internal communications, including with Boris Johnson’s controversial adviser Dominic Cummings. 

Parliament is due to return on 14 October. 

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Cónal Thomas

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