Brexit: Defiant Boris Johnson vows to force a snap election if delay stretches as long as three months


BORIS Johnson last night told EU chiefs he will force a snap general election if a new Brexit delay stretches as long as three months.

With next weeks October 31 Brexit deadline in disarray, the PM immediately hit the phones to Europes leaders.

Boris Johnson has told EU leaders that he will force a snap general election if the Brexit delay drags on

Brussels bosses began considering the length of the new delay which Parliament asked to run until January 31.

Defiant Mr Johnson insisted he would repeat his firm line that our policy remains that we should not delay, that we should leave the EU on October 31st.

But No10 would not rule out the PM reluctantly accepting a far shorter delay of a few weeks to continue pushing his landmark Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament.

It came after Mr Johnson experienced joy and then woe in the Commons last night.

In a major breakthrough, the PM won backing for his Brexit deal as MPs voted for a second reading of the EU Withdrawal Bill by 329 to 299.

But then he lost a vote on the crucial timetable motion.

His bid to pass the new exit deal at breakneck speed was defeated by 322 to 308.

A flex-tension that would see the EU end Britains membership as soon as the bill was passed by Parliament was last night seen as EU leaders most likely decision.

Mr Johnson told MPs last night that he would accelerate the Governments no deal preparations as the only responsible course in case the EU decided on no delay at all.

Parliament asked to run until January 31 but the PM promises he will repeat his firm line that we should leave at the end of this month

Boris had been celebrating his success in the Commons when his bill was finally voted through

However, nine Tory rebels thwarted his plan to push the landmark Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament by Halloween

Earlier, as he opened an emotionally charged Commons debate on the bill, Mr Johnson threw down the gauntlet on what he would do if his all- important three-day timetable to pass it was torpedoed.

He told MPs he would in no way allow months more of this.


He said: If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead gets its way and decides to delay everything until January, with great regret I must say the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.

He added: We have chewed over this question again and again; our constituents will not be fooled by any further delay they will not understand why that is necessary.

At that election I will argue Lets get Brexit done, and the Leader of the Opposition will make his case to spend 2020 having two referendums one on Brexit and one on Scotland and the people will decide.

Downing Street was bullish last night over the PMs chances of winning a snap poll.

A No10 source said: The PMs deal is a great electoral platform to campaign on.

But even some Tory MPs thought it was just a giant bluff as the PM played a high-stakes game of brinkmanship with rebel Conservatives.

One loyal backbencher sceptical about No10s ability to force a snap election said: How? He has tried twice and Labour MPs are saying they still wont vote for one before the spring.

EU diplomats predicted that the PM would have to write to Brussels boss Donald Tusk to ask for a shorter extension

But within two hours of the PMs setback, Mr Tusk said he would recommend the three-month-long delay

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn offered to work with Boris to draw up a new timetable for the bill

After the result of the second vote was announced, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn issued an offer to work with the PM to draw up a new timetable for the bill.

He declared: The house has refused to be bounced.

EU diplomats told The Sun if Mr Johnson wanted a shorter extension he would have to write to EU Council president Donald Tusk to ask for it.

But within two hours of the PMs setback, Mr Tusk said he would recommend the three-month-long delay requested by Parliament.

He tweeted: Following PM @BorisJohnsons decision to pause the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, and in order to avoid a no-deal #Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension.


Sources in Brussels insisted the bloc would not get dragged into UK politics by being seen to either encourage or block another General Election.

They said they continued to treat the January 31 date set out in the extension letter demanded by Parliament as the Governments formal request for a delay.

One EU diplomat said: We will not be dragged into the Westminster morass.

Only nine of the 21 suspended Tory rebels ended up rebelling again. Most finally fell in line and backed Mr Johnson.

That included Sir Oliver Letwin, who had masterminded Saturdays revolt which forced the PM to ask for a fresh Brexit delay as an insurance mechanism on no deal.

The Tory grandee tweeted: Surely best for all of us who regard this deal as the least of the evils to vote for the Programme Motion, whatever we really think of it.

Nineteen pro-Brexit Labour MPs mounted a revolt to back the bills second reading.

They warned that voters would lose faith with Labour and Parliament if MPs thwarted a deal yet again.

Corbyn was humiliated when one of his own front-benchers nodded off during his debate speech