Boris Johnson seeks snap election after suffering Commons defeat

4th September 2019

Rebel Tories deliver victory for MPs to seize control of Commons timetable.

Boris Johnson will be asking Parliament to support plans for a snap general election in October after suffering defeat in his first House of Commons vote as Prime Minister.

A total of 21 Conservative MP rebels voted with a group of cross-party MPs for the House of Commons to seize control of the Parliamentary timetable. Former cabinet ministers, including Philip Hammond and David Gauke were among the group of Tory rebel voters.

By taking control of the Parliamentary timetable, Labour backbencher Hilary Benn will have her path cleared to table a bill designed to block a no-deal Brexit. The bill would force the Prime Minister to request an extension to article 50, the clause dealing with exiting the EU, if Parliament does not approve a new deal or no-deal.

Mr Johnson lost the vote by 328 to 301. Following his defeat, the PM said he would not request the delay necessitated by the rebel MPs’ bill, criticising the move for “hand[ing] control of the negotiations to the EU”.

He warned that if MPs based the bill on Wednesday, “the people of this country will have to choose” in a snap election, which he seeks to schedule for 15th October.

Under the UK Fixed-term Parliaments Act, Mr Johnson requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament to secure a snap election. Further complicating matters, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stated he would not support a motion for a snap election until the anti-no deal Brexit bill is passed.

British media report that a number of MPs feel emboldened after Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. Rebel MPs hope to get their anti no-deal Brexit bill passed before Parliament is suspended next week, however it is likely to face opposition when it reaches the House of Lords.

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Boris Johnson seeks snap election after suffering Commons defeat