Pressure to agree to general election is immense – but key task must be completed before Labour can back it
The Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn identified a trap in Boris Johnson’s plan to call a general election in response to MPs’ attempt to take control of Commons business and prevent Johnson taking the UK over the no-deal cliff edge.
The party has taken extensive advice from lawyers and from clerks of the House of Commons who have confirmed that a vote for a general election this week would give MPs no control over the date on which the election would be held.
This would mean that there would be nothing preventing Boris Johnson scrapping his trailed date of the week beginning 14 October and moving the election back beyond the 31 October Brexit date – and with Parliament suspended for the election, MPs would have no way to prevent the UK crashing out with no deal.
Corbyn brought a point of order after Tuesday night’s vote to say that Labour will support an election – but only after the threat of no deal has been removed – and the party abstained last night to ensure Johnson’s attempt to force an election through Parliament to his preferred timing was unsuccessful.
Labour can, of course, look to do that at a time of its choosing, by means of a vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government.
Corbyn has demonstrated time and again that he has the backbone to hold his nerve – and he will do so now in the national interest, to ensure that Johnson’s route to a no-deal Brexit by subterfuge is blocked off.
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