Boris Johnson fails to win enough support for an early general election

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/Parliament/PA.

Boris Johnson in the House of Commons. Photograph: Jessica Taylor/Parliament/PA. - Credit: PA

MPs have failed to vote for Boris Johnson's plan to hold a general election on October 15th - which required a two-thirds majority to pass.

After legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit cleared the House of Commons, the prime minister had told MPs that the country must go to the polls next month to decide who to send to Brussels to "sort this out".

Johnson, opening a debate on triggering an early general election, said: "I think it's very sad that MPs have voted like this, I do, I think it's a great dereliction of their democratic duty.

"But if I'm still prime minister after Tuesday October 15, then we will leave on October 31 with, I hope, a much better deal."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had said the bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit must be passed through the Lords and have received royal assent before it will entertain the thought of a general election.

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He said: "Let the bill pass and have royal assent and then we can have a general election."

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said: "This attempt to dissolve parliament is a desperate and utterly cynical move and I am delighted that tonight it has been made very, very clear by all of the opposition parties that we are not falling for it.

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"The prime minister can own his own horrendous mess, because he is trying to smuggle out this no-deal Brexit during an election campaign, and that is what makes it so vital that no election happens before there is an extension of Article 50, before it is agreed and, crucially, before it is implemented as well."

She added: "There are numerous reasons many of us want to get rid of this cruel and callous government.

"And believe me, I am one of those who absolutely wants to do that, not least because this is a government, for example, which is not only not doing anywhere near enough to tackle the climate crisis, they are actively exacerbating it with fracking, with fossil fuel subsidies and so on."

In the end the vote was won by the government by 298 votes to 56 - but did not pass because it did not receive the support of the two-thirds of the House of Commons required.

Boris Johnson claimed that it was a vote of confidence in the government from the opposition that they did not vote to call a general election.

Best for Britain's Naomi Smith, campaigning for a People's Vote, said: "Tonight's outcome may have been cloaked in confusion but be in no doubt that it was a success for those seeking to stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit.

"Boris Johnson appeared panicked into a chaotic response to the pressures he faced in the Commons - rest assured, it is going to get more difficult for this weak PM and his ill-thought-out Brexit plans."

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