Boris Johnson demands Oct 15 elections as Brexit crisis deepens

07:30 PM | 4 Sep, 2019
Boris Johnson demands Oct 15 elections as Brexit crisis deepens

LONDON - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson challenged his Labour rival Jeremy Corbyn to vote in favour of an early election on October 15 later on Wednesday.

In a heated parliamentary debate, Johnson said that if Corbyn voted in favour of a draft law against the government's Brexit strategy then he should also support an election to "allow the people of this country to have their view".

Johnson dished in on the date for new elections after lawmakers seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in parliament.

Parliament's move leaves Brexit saga to liner on, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole exercise at all.

A day earlier, an alliance of opposition lawmakers supported by 21 rebels from Johnson's Conservative Party defeated the government on a motion permitting them to try to pass a law which would force a three-month extension to Britain's EU exit date.

The recently-elected Johnson saw the defection as an attempt to surrender to the EU, vowed never to delay Brexit beyond Oct 31 and challenged opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree to an Oct 15 election.

“Can I invite the leader of the opposition to confirm, when he stands up shortly, that if that surrender bill is passed, he will allow the people of this country to have their view on what he is proposing to hand over in their name with an election on October the 15th,” Johnson told lawmakers.

Though nothing with definitive confirmation can be said about the outcomes, Johnson's bid for an election is set to be initially thwarted as opposition parties are united in pursuit to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to a vote.

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But Johnson says his strategy was to get a Brexit deal by an EU summit on Oct 17 and “get Brexit done”.

Opposition parties and rebels in his own party said they would not allow a no-deal Brexit to be 'smuggled' through under the garb of an election.

“We're not going to dance to his tune,” affirmed Keir Starmer, the opposition Labour Party's loyalist.

Johnson's critics say he is playing with fire because of the economic damage such a breakup could cause after almost half a century of close ties with Britain's closest neighbours.

The European Commission also said on Wednesday that the risk of a no-deal Brexit had increased, warning that it saw no alternative to the current withdrawal deal.