Opposition parties will not back election before October 31st

PUBLISHED: 14:11 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:12 06 September 2019

Anna Soubry, Caroline Lucas, Jo Swinson, Liz Saville Roberts, Ian Blackford and John McDonnell during a meeting of a cross-party group of MPs. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Anna Soubry, Caroline Lucas, Jo Swinson, Liz Saville Roberts, Ian Blackford and John McDonnell during a meeting of a cross-party group of MPs. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Opposition parties have opposed Boris Johnson's call for a general election, despite a planned fresh bid to try and make one happen before October 31st.

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Jeremy Corbyn spoke with the leaders of the main opposition parties to discuss their resistance to holding a vote before the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 is eliminated.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNPs and Plaid Cymru are all understood to be planning on voting against or abstaining from the Fixed-Term Parliament Act when it returns to the House of Commons.

Opposition leaders including the Lib Dems' Jo Swinson, the SNP's Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts discussed tactics as Johnson returned to the campaign trail of the election he is yet to successfully trigger.

SNP Westminster leader Blackford said he was "desperate for an election", but it could not be until an extension to Article 50 was secured.

He told PA: "It's not just about our own party interests, it's about our collective national interests.

"So we are prepared to work with others to make sure we get the timing right, but the timing right on the basis of securing that extension to Article 50."

But he did anticipate that an election would be successfully called "over the course of these weeks".

A Lib Dem spokeswoman said: "The Liberal Democrat position for a while now is that we won't vote for a general election until we have an extension agreed with the EU. I think the others are coming round to that.

MORE: Labour will not support an election before October 31st, says Emily Thornberry

"As a group we will all vote against or abstain on Monday."

Saville Roberts said voting for an election next week would "play into Boris Johnson's hands", giving the PM the opportunity to ignore parliament and force through a no-deal.

"We were in unity in our opinion, our priority is of course to stop a no-deal Brexit," she told the BBC.

"In the short time we need to make sure that we get past the October 31 and an extension to Article 50.

"We have an opportunity to bring down Boris, to break Boris and to bring down Brexit, and we must take that."

Labour said the leaders discussed efforts to prevent a "damaging" no-deal Brexit and to hold an election "once that is secured".

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