The Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, has said Labour will not vote for a general election on Wednesday, 4 September, despite the party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn saying 48 hours they were ready to take on the Tories at the polls.
The next general election is not due until 2022 but Mr Johnson lost his majority on Tuesday, 3 September, when Dr Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats and he then suffered a humiliating defeat when 21 Tory MPs rebelled.
The 21, who include former Cabinet ministers Sir Oliver Letwin and Ken Clarke, have now had the whip withdrawn and could be deselected by the party ahead of the election.
— BoS (@Bos_eye) September 4, 2019
Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act the prime minister can only call an election before 2022 if he gets a two-thirds majority, which means Labour would have to agree to it.
Mr Starmer told the BBC they would only agree to an election “on our terms” and will vote against Mr Johnson’s call for a poll.
— Lord Ashcroft (@LordAshcroft) September 1, 2019
Earlier in the week former Labour prime minister Tony Blair warned that an election was an “elephant trap” being set by Mr Johnson.
Mr Starmer said he felt the election was a “trap” and he suspected the prime minister would switch the date of the poll until later in the year, having in the mean time crashed out of the EU without a deal.
— Jeff The Pino (@JeffThePino1) September 4, 2019
After Tuesday night’s vote MPs will now vote on the Brexit delay bill - which Mr Johnson has described as “Jeremy Corbyn’s surrender bill” - and if the government is again defeated Mr Johnson is expected to call for an election and seek a two-thirds majority.
— George Eaton (@georgeeaton) September 3, 2019
But Mr Starmer said: “We are not going to be voting with Johnson today.”
He said: “No-one in parliament trusts this man. We are not going to dance to Boris Johnson’s tune. What we want to ensure is we’ve got the insurance policy of taking no deal off the table and we will have a general election on our terms, not Boris Johnson’s terms.”
At a rally in Salford on Monday night Mr Corbyn said he was ready for a general election.
Later the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, will also outline the government's spending plans, with austerity being over and handsome handouts to the NHS and schools ahead of a looming election.
— Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) September 4, 2019