Johnson will seek snap general election for second time on Monday

Johnson will seek snap general election for second time on Monday

The British Government will mount a fresh attempt to call an early election on Monday after failing in a bid last night to go to the country on October 15.

Downing Street said the British Prime Minister would set out his case directly to the public in a speech today, claiming Jeremy Corbyn wants to "surrender" to Brussels by "begging" for a delay beyond the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Opposition parties are in talks about how to respond to Mr Johnson's call for a snap election, with concern about whether the poll should be delayed until after an extension has been secured to prevent a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

A cross-party bid to require a Brexit extension cleared the Commons yesterday and is due to complete its progress through the Lords tomorrow.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Victoria Jones/PA)

The British Prime Minister will claim the legislation is a "surrender Bill" and stress he will not seek a delay to Brexit in his speech later.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "It is clear the only action is to go back to the people and give them the opportunity to decide what they want: Boris to go to Brussels and get a deal or leave without one on October 31, or Jeremy Corbyn arriving in Brussels with his surrender Bill begging for more delay, more dither and accepting whatever terms Brussels imposes over our nation."

Setting the scene for a "people versus Parliament" election strategy, the spokesman said: "Boris will argue that it is now time for the people to decide after Parliament has failed them so we can resolve this once and for all.

"For Jeremy Corbyn to continue to avoid an election would be a cowardly insult to democracy."

Meanwhile, the fallout continued from Mr Johnson's decision to remove the Tory whip from 21 MPs, including former chancellors Philip Hammond and Kenneth Clarke, after they rebelled over the plan to block a no-deal Brexit.

Cabinet ministers reportedly raised concerns with Mr Johnson, and the One Nation group of Conservatives called for the 21 to be reinstated.

One Nation group leader and former Cabinet minister Damian Green told the BBC: "I'm afraid it does look as though somebody has decided that the moderate, progressive wing of the Conservative Party is not wanted on voyage."

UK Chancellor Sajid Javid told LBC Radio he was "saddened" by the decision, adding: "I would like to see those colleagues come back at some point but right now the Prime Minister had no choice."

In Brussels, frustration about the Prime Minister's approach to seeking a Brexit deal was illustrated by a Financial Times report that chief negotiator Michel Barnier claimed there is "a state of paralysis" in talks with the UK.

The British Prime Minister has repeatedly claimed progress is being made and told MPs on Tuesday that "in the last few weeks, I believe the chances of a deal have risen".

Michel Barnier
Michel Barnier

Downing Street rejected the reported remark by Mr Barnier, the British Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I haven’t seen anything from Michel Barnier on the record but in any event I would completely reject that assessment.

“Both sides agree to continue talks tomorrow after constructive discussions yesterday and we have seen from EU leaders that there is a willingness to find and agree solutions to the problems we have with the old deal.”

Meanwhile, a British Cabinet minister has failed to rule out Boris Johnson making a third attempt to trigger an early general election next week should his second bid fall flat.

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said a motion for an early general election has been scheduled for Monday ahead of UK Parliament’s temporary suspension, known as prorogation.

But Labour former minister Angela Eagle noted that Mr Rees-Mogg had been “extremely coy” about when prorogation will happen, and pressed him to say if the British Prime Minister will “have a third go” at pushing for a snap poll later in the week.

Mr Rees-Mogg said Parliament must prorogue on either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week but added that the commission responsible for this has “not yet made its decision”.

Mr Johnson’s first attempt to call an early election failed on Wednesday after it did not secure the required support of two-thirds of MPs.

- Press Association

More on this topic

Mary Lou McDonald: DUP should not have championed Brexit if concerned over checksMary Lou McDonald: DUP should not have championed Brexit if concerned over checks

Michael Clifford: Is Boris Johnson the man for the moment?Michael Clifford: Is Boris Johnson the man for the moment?

Hard Brexit ‘not a realistic expectation’, says Ray O’RourkeHard Brexit ‘not a realistic expectation’, says Ray O’Rourke

Brexit ‘will present a tsunami of building opportunities’Brexit ‘will present a tsunami of building opportunities’