Boris Johnson could bid to trigger an election as early as TODAY – as No 10 and Cabinet SPLIT over going to the polls before Brexit is done
- Boris Johnson is facing Tory rebels over calling a general election ahead of Brexit
- Dominic Cummings is said to be the driving force behind challenging Corbyn
- The PM is mulling laying down gauntlet as soon as the EU grants a Brexit delay
- But senior Tories fear they will haemorrhage votes to Nigel Farage’s party
Boris Johnson could call an election as soon as today amid a Downing Street split over going to the polls.
It is thought the Prime Minister will lay down the gauntlet to Jeremy Corbyn as soon as the EU grant another Brexit extension, a decision expected tomorrow.
Mr Johnson will put forward a motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act tonight or on Monday, according to The Times.
But Mr Johnson is facing mounting Tory resistance, with some believing his chief adviser Dominic Cummings is driving him towards the polls, whereas the PM might be more inclined to plough on with Brexit.
It is thought the Prime Minister will lay down the gauntlet to Jeremy Corbyn as soon as the EU grant another Brexit extension, a decision expected tomorrow
Indeed, it was rumoured that Mr Cummings was furiously banging his fist during a meeting between Mr Johnson and Mr Corbyn when the PM suggested a compromise to the Brexit timetable.
After Labour blocked Mr Johnson’s fast-track Brexit timetable on Tuesday night, it was alleged that Mr Johnson had asked Mr Corbyn how long it might take to get the deal passed, at which point, according to The Telegraph, Mr Cummings furiously shouted, ‘No!’
No10 doused the claims as ‘utter nonsense’ and added that the meeting with the Opposition leader was ‘a total waste of time.’
A string of ministers told The Sun last night that delivering Brexit should be the priority and believe they would haemorrhage votes to Nigel Farage’s Brexit party should an election be triggered.
One Cabinet minister told the paper: ‘I want the bill passed ASAP. We have a majority for it, 30 was strong.’
Even if Mr Johnson does decide to press for an early election there is no guarantee that he will succeed.
Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act he would need a ‘super majority’ of two-thirds of all MPs to call an election which would require Labour support.
Dominic Cummings is considered to be the driving force behind Mr Johnson’s election plot
Mr Corbyn has said Labour is ready to go to the country once it is sure Mr Johnson cannot ‘crash out’ in a no-deal Brexit in the middle of a campaign.
However there is widespread opposition among the party’s MPs at a time when they are trailing in the polls.
While there are other potential routes to an election, such as Tories voting for a no-confidence motion in their own Government which would only require a simple majority of one, they are also fraught with difficulties.
Any decision is likely to wait until Friday when EU leaders are expected to make their decision on whether, and for how long, there should be another Brexit delay.
It is widely thought they will agree a so-called ‘flextension’ to the end of January, with the option for the UK to leave before then if there is agreement in Parliament on a deal before then.
Such a move would be in line with the request which Mr Johnson was forced to submit under the terms of the Benn Act after he failed to gain approval for his deal at Saturday’s special sitting of Parliament.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday
That approach enjoys the support of key figures such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Irish premier Leo Varadkar.
However French President Emmanuel Macron is reported to be pressing for a much shorter delay to the middle of November to keep the pressure on MPs at Westminster.
If leaders cannot come to an agreement it could mean there will have to be an EU emergency summit, probably on Monday, just three days before the UK is currently due to leave.
A shorter extension would be a boost to Mr Johnson who has told outgoing European Council president Donald Tusk that he does not want any further delay.