UK PM preparing to call an election over Brexit showdown: Reports, Latest World News - The New Paper

UK PM preparing to call an election over Brexit showdown: Reports

This article is more than 12 months old

LONDON: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to call an election, British media reported yesterday, on the eve of a historic showdown with Parliament over Brexit.

Mr Johnson's promise to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct 31 with or without a deal propelled the country towards a constitutional crisis and a battle with the 27 other EU members.

Opposition lawmakers are plotting with rebels in Mr Johnson's Conservative Party to tie the government's hands with legislation that would block a no-deal exit.

Just 24 hours before Parliament returns today from its summer break, Mr Johnson's enforcers warned rebels that if they voted against the government they would be kicked out of the party.

With little clarity on whether the British parliament might be able to come up with a resolution to the three-year Brexit crisis, talk turned to a possible election.

"We want a general election," opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said, to oust Mr Johnson's "phony, populist cabal".

He added: "We must come together to stop no deal - this week could be our last chance."

But former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair warned Mr Corbyn, a veteran socialist, to avoid what he cast as an election "elephant trap" Mr Johnson had laid for Labour.

"Boris Johnson knows that if no-deal Brexit stands on its own as a proposition it might fail but if he mixes it up with the Corbyn question in a general election he could succeed despite a majority being against a no-deal Brexit because some may fear a Corbyn premiership more," Mr Blair said.

Mr Johnson called a Cabinet meeting yesterday and could ask lawmakers to vote on calling an election if they vote against his government on Brexit, the BBCsaid.

Asked if Mr Johnson was planning an election, his spokesman said: "He has been asked this on many, many occasions and his answer has always been that he doesn't want there to be an election." - REUTERS