Labour’s message expected to be simple: “We won’t let you take the p***, but otherwise bring it on.”
Boris Johnson’s attempt to force a general election through the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), which would have given him complete control over the election date, has failed by 299 votes to 70. Under the FTPA he needed a two-thirds majority of MPs to support it. 299 votes is short of the two-thirds figure.
Labour abstained as Jeremy Corbyn does not trust Johnson to stick to his mooted date of 12 December instead of bringing the date forward to facilitate a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson is expected to announce a one-line bill as separate legislation calling a general election, which would only require a simple majority of MPs participating in the vote. Crucially, that bill will be amendable – an amendment to impose a fixed date on the election is expected, potentially along with other measures.
Corbyn is expected to support the one-line bill, subject to guarantees on the right of students to vote – a December election risks many being outside their registered voting constituency – and satisfactory measures to preclude a no-deal Brexit.
Labour’s message will be simple: “We won’t let you take the p***, but otherwise bring it on.”
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