BORIS Johnson will put his Brexit Bill on ice and back an SNP-Liberal Democrat plot for a December 9 election if he loses tonight’s crunch vote.
The PM is ready to introduce a Bill “almost identical” to the Opposition’s plan to push for a Christmas vote if his own bid fails within hours.
Downing Street confirmed the plans this lunchtime after Brexit was delayed for a third time this morning.
Brussels bosses gave the green light to a“flextension” – with the option of leaving as early as November 30 if a deal is approved by MPs.
Boris is desperately trying to ram through his Bill and then have an election afterwards, but MPs are fiercely opposed to it.
A No10 source claimed today that if their bid for an election flopped this evening they would try again tomorrow with a different route – a Lib Dem-SNP plot.
They said: “Tonight is Labours last chance to have election with Brexit delivered – they can vote for 12th and get Brexit done before.
“If not, we will introduce a Bill almost identical to the Lib Dem/SNP tomorrow.”
The PM would then only bring back his Brexit deal to the Commons after an election – where he hopes to gain enough Tory MPs to be able to push it through,
It comes as:
- Ex-Tory rebels including Philip Hammond and David Gauke said they wouldn’t back a snap vote this evening
- Corbyn and his top team will meet for a crunch shadow cabinet this lunchtime to sign off their position
- Speaker John Bercow will quit on Thursday October 31 – the day Britain was supposed to leave the EU
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford have put forward a tightly-drafted Bill that would grant an election on December 9.
Mr Blackford said this morning: “It is confirmed by the EU that we will not be leaving on the 31st Oct. @BorisJohnson has failed to take us off the cliff edge, he has been defeated again. Let us have the election. @thesnp will do its job and put across our message that those in Scotland should decide our future.”
Mr Corbyn is still set to try and wriggle out of a poll by arguing that the PM could still take Britain out without a trade deal in December 2020.
Last night he said the three month election would not be enough to vote for an election.
“No, because its still there in his mind, its still there in the bill, and its still there as a threat, he told reporters in Scotland.
Its got to be completely removed before well support an election. We want an election as soon as thats removed and its in his hands to do so.
MPs think that Labour will lose a snap poll – and their seats – and are refusing to back one.
This morning’s news means the PM’s “do or die” promise to leave the EU by October 31 has now been completely shattered.
EU boss Donald Tusk said today: “The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure.”
It means there will be no special EU summit to rubber stamp the decision.
Today Boris refused to resign to breaking his promise, or say sorry.
His spokesperson said he was “going to get on delivering on the nation’s priorities”, and he blamed Parliament for standing in the way of delivering Brexit.
The PM will open tonight’s crunch debate on an election after 5.30pm.
This morning Labour’s ex-General Secretary Iain McNichol said theleftie leader’s poll ratings were “not good” and the Labour leader was “fresh” back in 2017.
He warned that the Tories won’t make the same mistakes as in 2017 and said it would be “very difficult” to win a snap poll.
What's the difference between the two election plans?
- Push through Brexit Bill by November 6 with extra time for debate
- Hopefully deliver EU exit and then go to the polls on December 12
- Needs two thirds of MPs to push it through under Fixed Term Parliaments Act
- Would mean Boris would be able to deliver Brexit and go to the polls – giving him a boost
LIB DEM/SNP PLAN
- Ditch Boris’ Withdrawal Agreement Bill
- Push through a simple one-line bill to call for an election on December 9
- Would only need over half of MPs
- But could get bogged down by other MPs who try to tack on amendments – such as demanding all 16 year olds get the vote
- Would mean Boris had not delivered Brexit by polling day, leaving him weakened
- Election date would be earlier and Labour/Lib Dems could get more support from uni students who have yet to go home