Johnson will push for election if lawmakers reject Brexit timetable
LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday he would end an attempt to win parliamentary approval for his Brexit legislation and instead press for an election if lawmakers reject his timetable.
Opening a debate before lawmakers are expected to vote on his deal for the first time, Mr Johnson warned parliament: "I will in no way allow months more of this.
"If parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead, gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in those circumstances... with great regret I must say that the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward... to a general election."
The prime minister would need to win a vote to trigger an early election because one is not scheduled until 2022.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said yesterday his opposition party would not support Mr Johnson's Brexit deal or his timetable to pass the legislation for it through parliament.
"My own view is that we should vote against this bill this evening," he told parliament at the start of a debate yesterday on approving the legislation to allow Britain to leave the European Union with a deal on Oct 31.
"My recommendation would be to vote against this bill," he added, saying the party would also oppose the so-called programme motion, which sets the timetable for passage of the legislation through the House of Commons.
The Labour Party said it will back an early election only if an extension long enough to allow for a snap poll is agreed with the European Union and a no-deal Brexit is off the table, a source in the party said yesterday.
Labour has long said it wants a new election, but has so far refused to support Mr Johnson's calls for one because the party fears he might lead Britain out of the EU without a deal.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there would need to be an extension long enough to hold a new election for the prime minister to get Labour's support for a snap poll. - REUTERS