Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said there is a ‘strong possibility’ of a general election before Christmas amid the Brexit chaos in Westminster.
The Labour leader said whether a national vote is triggered will depend on if the prime minister is able to bring back a deal, with Boris Johnson attending an EU summit this week,
Asked on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday about the chances of an election before Christmas, he said: “That is obviously a strong possibility, We are are ready for an election at any time.”
However he said it was not in his power to force a general election, as it would need a majority of MPs in the House of Commons to vote for a poll under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.
Pressed on whether he would be calling for a second referendum, Corbyn said Labour’s policy, he said: “We have to get a deal we can agree on.
“If that’s possible, we would take this to a public vote under a Labour government” – suggesting that a People’s Vote would only come after a general election.
“I think many in Parliament, not necessarily Labour MPs, others, might be more inclined to support it (if there was a referendum) even if they don’t really agree with the deal. I would caution them on this,” he said.
He said that it was “ludicrous” for the government to be holding a Queen’s Speech on Monday when it was more than 40 votes short of a Commons majority.
“It obviously depends on what happens this week, but we have a Government that is now in minus 40, it hasn’t yet won a vote in Parliament.
“Having a Queen’s Speech and a State Opening of Parliament tomorrow is ludicrous. What we have got in effect is a party political broadcast from the steps of the throne.”
Should the government collapse amid the Brexit chaos, it has been discussed that a neutral figure such as Ken Clarke could lead an interim government.
However Corbyn insisted that if the government fell, he should have the first chance of forming a new government.
He said: “I am the leader of the opposition. All the British parliamentary precedents going back as long as you care to look are that the first option is that the leader of the opposition is invited to form an administration in order to deal with the specific points to make sure that we get a deal with the European Union.”
“We will form an administration if this government collapses with the purpose of a deal and take this country forward to decide its own future through an election and the people get to decide their future in a referendum.”