UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued an ultimatum to rebel MPs, pledging to call a snap election on 14 October if the House of Commons forges ahead with a bill seeking to block a no deal Brexit.
The Parliamentary bill was tabled by a cross-party group of backbenchers which stipulates that Brexit should be delayed till the end of January should Parliament fail to approve a deal or consent to a no-deal scenario. MPs hope to take over the Parliamentary agenda by making a plea to the House Speaker, John Bercow, which would allow for an urgent discussion.
Mr Johnson issued his ultimatum on Brexit after holding an emergency cabinet meeting and addressed Conservative MPs at a Downing Street reception. He then delivered a live television address outside No 10, where he said that were “no circumstances” under which Brexit would not happen on 31st October.
In his televised address, Mr Johnson repeatedly said that he did not want an election, despite briefings coming from his office where a snap election was reportedly threatened.
The UK PM said the bill, signed by former chancellor Philip Hammond, the ex-justice secretary David Gauke and others, would “chop the legs out” from the UK’s negotiations.
A government source reportedly told The Guardian that a vote on whether to proceed with the rebel MPs bill would be viewed as the equivalent of a confidence motion in Johnson’s government. Should the vote pass and the bill be discussed, the government will consider seeking a snap election on 14th October, using the 2011 Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA). This threat would then be withdrawn if the bill did not succeed.