Brexit latest: Boris Johnson loses vote on snap general election

Boris Johnson has lost a vote to trigger a snap general election on 12 December - but immediately signalled he will try again tomorrow for a pre-Christmas poll.

The Prime Minister failed to secure the “super majority” required to approve the early vote under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA).

Only 299 MPs voted in favour of the motion, with 70 voting against and hundreds more abstaining - leaving the PM well short of the 434 he needed.

Mr Johnson told MPs straight after the vote that the Government will table a “short” bill calling for an election on December 12, which would require a simple majority of 320 MPs to support it.

He has already had two requests for an election refused.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tabled a bill to trigger an election in December. (Stephen Pike/House of Commons via AP)

The Lib Dems and SNP have offered the PM a lifeline by tabling a bill that would grant an election on December 9 – three days earlier than the PM’s suggested date.

The parties have said they are prepared to back a pre-Christmas election - but only if no-deal is taken off the table completely. That means Mr Johnson’s new attempt to secure an election would be likely to pass even without Labour backing it.

Labour has also repeatedly refused to back an election until a no-deal Brexit has been taken off the table - though Jeremy Corbyn has not made clear exactly what needs to happen to satisfy his conditions.

After the vote, Mr Johnson stated that “no deal is off the table” - though opposition parties have said they don’t trust the prime minister to stick to his promises.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg made a further attempt to win the opposition parties over by confirming that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) to implement the PM’s Brexit deal would not be brought back before MPs.

Earlier EU leaders confirmed that they would extend Britain’s withdrawal date to January 31, in line with the request the Prime Minister was forced to make under the terms of the so-called Benn Act.


What they said after the vote:

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

“The leader of the Opposition literally and figuratively has run away from the judgment of the people.

“We will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election.

“So later on this evening, the Government will give notice of presentation for a short bill for an election on December 12 so we can finally get Brexit done.

“This House cannot any longer keep this country hostage.

“Now that no-deal is off the table, we have a great new deal, and it’s time for the voters to have a chance to pronounce on that deal and to replace this dysfunctional Parliament with a new Parliament that can get Brexit done so the country can move on.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

“I understand a bill will be tabled tomorrow, we will obviously look and scrutinise that bill and we look forward to a clear, definitive decision that no-deal is absolutely off the table and there is no danger of this Prime Minister not sticking to his word because he has some form on these matters and taking this country out of the EU without any deal whatsoever, knowing the damage it will do to jobs and industries all across this country.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

“It is clear that there is a desire on the Opposition benches to bring forward a bill that can give us an election. But we don’t trust this Prime Minister and we don’t trust this Prime Minister for good reason.

“So the Prime Minister, if he is going to bring forward a bill, must give an absolute cast-iron assurance that up until the passage of that bill and the rising of Parliament, that there will be no attempt to bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”