Four times Boris Johnson misled cabinet with his election pitch

Boris Johnson holds a cabinet meeting in Downing Street. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/PA.

Boris Johnson holds a cabinet meeting in Downing Street. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson managed to mislead his own cabinet four times as he gave an election pitch in front of live television cameras.

Opening the meeting, Boris Johnson said that he did not want a general election because he wanted to sort the country instead.

But the prime minister attempted four times to get an election through, despite a lack of appetite until the last minute from opposition party MPs.

He continued to explain to cabinet that he had done something that people thought he could not do - negotiate a new Brexit deal.

He said: "We have achieved something that people thought we really couldn't do, and that was get a new deal, and a great new deal on our Brexit from the European Union. They said it couldn't be done."

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But the reason people did not believe Johnson could negotiate the new deal was because of the red lines he set surrounding Northern Ireland, and the commitments he had given the DUP.

Johnson also claimed that "at the last minute" parliament had blocked the deal he had secured, but it received the support of MPs at the second reading, with politicians disagreeing with the programme motion not the substance. Rather than offer MPs a new timetable, Johnson "paused" his bill, leaving it in "limbo".

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Fourthly Boris Johnson claimed that Labour was planning to "waste 2020", when it could be an "absolutely fantastic year for the nation".

The prime minister claimed Jeremy Corbyn was instead proposing "two more referendums" - "one which risks the break-up of our union of the United Kingdom and risks breaking up the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK".

He asked: "Do you want to waste 2020, which could be a fantastic year for the nation with two more referenda?

"What a disastrous, what a calamitous way to spend 2020."

Labour does back a second Brexit referendum "within six months" of coming to power, but it has fallen short of offering a guarantee on a second independence referendum.

Corbyn, however, did say he would not "stand in the way" of another vote, but ruled it out happening before 2021.

Finally, the prime minister closed his remarks by saying that the cabinet looks "all full of beans" - something that was met with some awkward laughter from those around with him.

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