Boris Johnson's bid for early general election fails as MPs hand him sixth successive Commons defeat

boris johnson

  • The House of Commons has rejected Boris Johnson's request for a snap general election.
  • Johnson had requested a general election in mid-October so a new parliament would be in place before the October 31 Brexit deadline.
  • However, Johnson's opponents will not support an election until he has been forced to seek a Brexit delay on October 31, or passed a deal in the Commons.
  • The vote was parliament's last act before Boris Johnson suspended it until mid-October
  • MPs also voted to force Downing Street to hand over private communications between officials which relate to Johnson's decision to shut down parliament, which opponents have called undemocratic.

LONDON - Boris Johnson's government suffered its sixth Commons defeat in a row when members of parliament rejected his request for an early election, throwing his Brexit plan into chaos.

The prime minister had asked MPs to approve an October 15 election, two days before a crucial European Union summit in Brussels, in order to win a mandate for leaving the EU at the end of October, with or without a deal.

However, MPs abstained for a second time on the vote, due to fears that he would use the election period to force through a no-deal Brexit.

His move to shut down parliament for six weeks, which was due to take effect in the early hours of Tuesday morning, means that parliament will not now have the opportunity to cast another vote until it returns in October, by which time the earliest election would be in November, after the Brexit deadline on October 31.

Read more: Boris Johnson ordered to publish secret no-deal Brexit plans to suspend parliament

Why does Johnson want an election?

FILE PHOTO - Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street from the rear entrance door, in London, Britain September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Johnson has sought an election since last week because he insisted a move by MPs to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31 had wrecked his negotiation position with the EU and left him with no choice but to go to the polls.

Opposition MPs, along with a handful of Conservative rebels, last week approved a law which would force Johnson to request a three-month delay to Brexit if he was unable to secure a deal with the EU by October 18.

But Labour and other opposition parties failed to support Johnson's subsequent attempt to force an early general election, which under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act must be approved by two-thirds of the House.

Labour's leadership favours a general election but has been wary of agreeing to one at Johnson's time of choosing.

The party now believes that Johnson will suffer dramatically in the polls if he is forced to seek a delay and break his "do-or-die" pledge to leave the EU on October 31.

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