Government threatens to go on 'strike' if it does not get general election

PUBLISHED: 09:57 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 25 October 2019

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

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

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Boris Johnson is threatening that the government will do the 'bare minimum' in parliament if MPs do not vote for a general election.

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The prime minister has challenged MPs to back his call for a December 12 vote in return for more time to scrutinise his Brexit deal as he tried to break the deadlock.

But in a further warning, his spokesman claimed that the government will effectively go on "strike" if they do not support him.

A spokesman for the prime minister said: "Nothing will come before parliament but the bare minimum.

"We will pursue a general election every day from then onwards and do everything we can to get it."

A Number 10 source said this would include the scrapping of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is required to ratify the deal.

Johnson will need Labour votes if he is to win the attempt on Monday, with a "super majority" of two-thirds of MPs required to get an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA).

Jeremy Corbyn said his decision would come after inspecting the terms of any extension to Article 50 granted by Brussels, which he was expecting to come on Friday.

The PM said the outcome of the announcement was "likely" to be the delay until January 31 which he was compelled to request by parliament.

Though his latest gambit, which saw him shelve his pledge to deliver Brexit by the October 31 deadline "do or die", could have provoked the EU to rethink and delay the announcement.

But in a move to win over MPs, he has offered them until November 6 to debate and vote on his deal.

Then parliament would be dissolved, paving the way for the first December election since 1923.

If Corbyn does not back the FTPA, it will be the third time he has been offered a general election and refused.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, all roundly refused to give their backing to the Johnson's plan.

Dominic Grieve, one of the 21 MPs exiled from the Tories by the PM, also said he would not back the election plan, describing to BBC's Newsnight as a form of "blackmail".

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