MPs vote on December general election today
MPs will assemble this evening to vote whether or not to have a general election in December.
Of course, what should be a straightforward procedure has turned into a game of chess once again, because of the Brexit negotiations.
Opposition MPs are concerned that while there has been no extension to the Halloween deadline by the EU, the prime minister could still take advantage of the situation that a general election would provide and take the country out of the EU with no deal, once parliament has stopped sitting.
It is this worry that is stopping MPs from going to the people and is likely to thwart Johnson’s intentions.
Two-thirds of the House of Commons must vote in favour of the PM’s plans and it looks very unlikely that he will have the numbers.
Labour members are expected to abstain, and the SNP have indicated they will support the motion, but they have teamed up with Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats to qualify how and when the election should be held.
By proposing an amendment to the Fixed Term Parliament Act, they are hoping that only a simple majority would be required to get an election, however, this comes with the proviso that the EU has granted an extension to Brexit until January 31 2020, and the date of the election is December 9 2019.
The Liberals and SNP hope that while giving the public the chance to vote for an alternative administration, this piece of legislation would sufficiently tie Boris Johnson’s hands and prevent him for either forcing through his deal with no scrutiny, or exiting without a deal.
Unfortunately for both Labour and the SNP, there is every indication in the YouGov polls, that the Conservatives will be returned to power, with Johnson at the helm. However both will be counting on the fact that the polls were wrong when they predicted that the UK would choose to remain in the EU in 2016 and they will be wrong once again.
The EU are not expected to decide on any extension to Brexit until tomorrow, so MPs will be holding their breath until then.
If the polls have got their predictions wrong, pushing for a general election could prove to be an act of self-harm as far as the prime minister is concerned. However, in this excruciating Brexit conundrum, it looks like being another five weeks before the country has any idea of where it is now going.
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