Boris’ huge December election gamble
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could get his Christmas wish of a December election after the Labour Party agreed the threat of a no-deal Brexit had been removed for long enough to support the vote.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party would support an early election now that his condition of taking a no deal Brexit off the table had been met.
"I have consistently said that we are ready for an election and our support is subject to a 'no deal' Brexit being off the table," he said.
He said the decision from EU leaders to grant a "flextension" until January 31 2020 meant their terms were met for the next three months.
"We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen," he said in a statement.
Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon said: "We'll be supporting a general election, because we want to get Boris Johnson out by Christmas."
The vote could be the first December election in nearly a century and is aimed at breaking the Brexit deadlock in a high stakes gamble for Mr Johnson.
The blonde-haired Brexiteer has repeatedly called for a general election and wants to hold one on December 12, however this was voted down by MPs on Monday in what was his third defeat on the issue.
Mr Johnson's calls are a gamble designed to change the numbers in parliament in order to give the Conservatives an outright majority. They currently govern in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Northern Irish DUP, which has proved a major sticking point with Brexit negotiations.
The uneasy alliance was formed with former Prime Minister Theresa May back in 2017 after she also called a snap election to capitalise on her brief honeymoon period as leader of the Conservatives.
However that decision swiftly backfired when the party lost their majority, leading to the awkward parliamentary arithmetic that has been blamed for the current Brexit impasse.
Since Mr Johnson became leader in 2019 the party's poll numbers have received a boost, but he remains untested by the electorate as leader, and will compete with an energised Liberal Democrat party campaigning for a second referendum, as well as Nigel Farage's newly formed Brexit Party.
On Tuesday, MPs will vote on a plan put forward by the Scottish National Party and Liberal Democrats, who want to hold an early election on December 9.
While the two proposed dates seem close together, the earlier one would reduce the window in which Mr Johnson would have to push through his Brexit bill ahead of parliament being suspended before the election.
The earlier date is also less likely to interfere with university holidays, which some fear could lead to reduced turnout among student voters.
General elections have been held twice in the last four years - in 2015 and 2017. The next is not scheduled to happen until 2022.
Earlier this week, EU leaders granted Britain a "flextension" until 31 January 2020, however Britain is able to leave the bloc earlier if the withdrawal agreement is ratified.
Labour's trade spokesman Barry Gardiner told BBC radio "the first thing" for Johnson to do to get his party's backing was "to ensure that students are not going to be disenfranchised by an election on December 12".
Corbyn did not specify a date in his statement.
"It will be a December election," a Labour source told AFP.
- with wires