No elec­tion un­til no-deal is ruled out, MPS tell John­son

●Labour and SNP will back snap poll but only af­ter rebel bill be­comes law

The Scotsman - - FRONT PAGE - By PARIS GOURTSOYAN­NIS West­min­ster Cor­re­spon­dent

Boris John­son’s call for an im­me­di­ate gen­eral elec­tion was re­jected last night by MPS fight­ing against a nodeal Brexit, set­ting up a race against time to get leg­is­la­tion pro­tect­ing the UK’S place in the EU through par­lia­ment by the start of next week.

Labour and the S NP said they would only al­low a gen­eral elec­tion to take place af­ter leg­is­la­tion forc­ing an ex­ten­sion to the UK’S 31 Oc­to­ber Brexit date, which was passed by MPS by 327 votes to 299, re­ceives royal as­sent.

Af­ter the third ma­jor de­feat of his pre­mier­ship, Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son said the coun­try had to go to the polls to de­cide “choose who goes to Brus­sels”.

Mr John­son told the Com­mons that par­lia­ment had “voted to stop, to scup­per any se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions” to se­cure a new Brexit deal.

“I think it’s very sad that MP’S have voted like this, I do, I think It’s a great dere­lic­tion of their duty,” he said.

“But if I’m still Prime Min­is­ter af­ter Tues­day Oc­to­ber 15, then we will leave on Oc­to­ber 31 with, I hope, a much bet­ter deal.”

The bill now moves to the House of Lords, where peers be­gan de­bat­ing yes­ter­day af­ter­noon and are ex­pected to con­tinue around the clock through

un­til at least to­mor­row, fol­low­ing an at­tempt by Con­ser­va­tives to fil­i­buster a timetable mo­tion by at­tach­ing over 90 amend­ments.

It must clear the Lords with­out any new amend­ments by Mon­day in or­der to be­come law be­fore a sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment or­dered by Mr John­son takes ef­fect.

Mr John­son faced an an­gry back­lash from his own party af­ter 21 se­nior MPS in­clud­ing the Fa­ther of the House of Com­mons, Ken Clarke, were stripped of the Con­ser­va­tive Whip for back­ing ef­forts to stop no-deal by vot­ing to seize con­trol of the par­lia­men­tary timetable.

The Prime Min­is­ter was chal­lenged over the in flu­ence wielded by his top ad­viser Do­minic Cum­mings at a meet­ing of the back bench 1922 Com­mit­tee, and faced de­mands from a group of nearly 100 MPS to re­in­state their purged col­leagues.

Yes­ter­day MPs and cam­paign­ers pur­su­ing a le­gal chal­lenge to the gov­ern­ment’s planned sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment vowed to fight on af­ter their case was re­jected by a judge in Ed­in­burgh. An ap­peal will be heard by the In­ner House of the Court of Ses­sion this morn­ing.

There was a row over tac­tics within Labour over how to ap­proach a snap elec­tion, with a meet­ing of MPS yes­ter­day morn­ing be­ing told the party would hold out un­til mid-oc­to­ber be­fore vot­ing to go to the polls.

But de­spite warn­ings from mem­bers of his own front bench, Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said he would back Mr John­son’s de­mand for an elec­tion as soon as the bill re­ceives royal as­sent.

Se­nior fig­ures in­clud­ing shadow Brexit sec­re­tary Sir Keir Starmer, joined by Lib - eral Demo­crat leader Jo Swin­son, voiced fears that call­ing an elec­tion be­fore an ex­ten­sion to the Ar­ti­cle 50 pe­riod is im­ple­mented left the door open to a no-deal Brexit at the end of Oc­to­ber.

A mo­tion put for­ward by the gov­ern­ment call­ing an elec­tion un­der the Fixed Term Par­lia­ment Act was de­feated last night af­ter it failed to se­cure the nec­es­sary two-thirds sup­port from the Com­mons.

With the back­ing of both Labour and the SNP, a gen­eral elec­tion still could be called early next week, be­fore the pro­ro­ga­tion of par­lia­ment.

Mr John­son urged the op­po­si­tion to “con­sider their po­si­tion over the com­ing days”, in­di­cat­ing that the gov­ern­ment will make another at­tempt to force an elec­tion.

Ad­dress­ing the Com­mons af­ter the bill put for­ward by Labour MP Hi­lary Benn passed, Mr Cor­byn said his party“look for­ward to turf­ing this gov­ern­ment out”. “He has com­mit­ted to rene­go­ti­ate Brexit – but where is it? Where is the plan? Where are the pro­pos­als ?” the Labour leader said.

“If he has a Brexit plan – be it No Deal or this new mys­tery pro­posed deal we are yet to see any de­tail of – then he should put it be­fore the peo­ple in a pub­lic vote, a ref­er­en­dum or a gen­eral elec­tion and seek a man­date from them.”

First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon tweeted that op­po­si­tion par­ties must “seek to force [an] elec­tion”, and the SNP’S West­min­ster leader Ian Black­ford said the S NP was“ready to bring down the Tory gov­ern­ment and give Scot­land the chance to stop Brexit and to de­cide its own fu­ture”.

“Op­po­si­tion par­ties must work with us to make sure we do not al­low a gov­ern­ment that has lost its ma­jor­ity, that does not com­mand this House, and that has treated this Par­lia­ment and this coun­try with con­tempt, to re­main in of­fice for one day more than is nec­es­sary,” Mr Black­ford.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is go­ing to shut this Par­lia­ment down so he can spend four weeks run­ning the clock down. We could in­stead use that time to run him out of of­fice.”

Ian Mur­ray, the Labour MP for Ed­in­burgh South, warned that par­lia­ment“sim­ply can­not trust Boris John­son to abide by the leg­is­la­tion un­til it has been im­ple­mented” and called on MPS to let the Prime Min­is­ter “stew in his juices”.

“We need to wait just a mat­ter of weeks to cat­e­gor­i­cally rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of a calami­tous no-deal Brexit and then a gen­eral elec­tion should be called in which Labour will cam­paign to give peo­ple a fi­nal say on Brexit,” Mr Mur­ray said.

“The SNP risk fall­ing right into Boris John­son’ strap if they back an elec­tion be­fore Oc­to­ber 31, and they risk a nodeal Brexit that would be dis­as­trous for Scot­land and the UK.

“We must let Boris John­son stew in his juices to ex­pose his con­stant lies.”

Ms Swin­son said MPS“can­not let Boris John­son use an elec­tion to tip the coun­try into a dan­ger­ous no deal Brexit”.

Ear­lier, at his first ses­sion of Prime Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions, Mr John­son claimed that if Labour get into power, Mr Cor­byn would “beg for an ex­ten­sion” from the EU and “ac­cept what­ever Brus­sels de­mands”.

The Prime Min­is­ter added: “By con­trast, ev­ery­one will know that if I am Prime Min­is­ter, I will go to Brus­sels, I will go for a deal and get a deal but if they won’t do a deal we will leave any­way on 31 Oc­to­ber.”

“He has com­mit­ted to rene­go­ti­ate Brexit – but where is it? Where is the plan? Where are the pro­pos­als?”

JEREMY COR­BYN

0 Brexit pro­test­ers gath­ered out­side West­min­ster yes­ter­day be­fore MPS voted to ap­prove a bill forc­ing an ex­ten­sion to the UK’S 31 Oc­to­ber Brexit date

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