NEWS
25/10/2019 7:47 AM AEDT

Boris Johnson To Ask Parliament For Early General Election In December

The prime minister said he would give Parliament more time to debate his Brexit deal as long as it agrees to an election before Christmas.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Britain's Prime Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers' Questions in Parliament in London on Wednesday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask Parliament to allow him to hold an early general election on December 12.

Johnson said Thursday that he would give members of Parliament more time to debate his Brexit deal on the condition that it votes in favour of an election before Christmas.

“The way to get this done, the way to get Brexit done, is, I think, to be reasonable with Parliament and say if they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it but they have to agree to a general election on December 12,” he told broadcasters.

The government is expected to consider a motion under the UK’s Fixed-Term Parliaments Act on Monday. To force an election via that route, Johnson needs to win the votes of two-thirds of MPs.

His previous two attempts to hold an election were thwarted after Jeremy Corbyn ordered Labour MPs to block it.

The Labour leader has said he will only vote for an election once the European Union has offered an extension to Article 50, removing the threat of a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31.

EU leaders are expected to grant a delay, but have yet to announce how long it will be. 

In a letter to Corbyn, Johnson said Parliament had “refused to take decisions.”

“It cannot refuse to let the voters replace it with a new Parliament that can make decisions,” he said. “Prolonging this paralysis into 2020 would have dangerous consequences for businesses, jobs and for basic confidence in democratic institutions, already badly damaged by the behaviour of Parliament since the referendum. Parliament cannot continue to hold the country hostage.

“You have repeatedly said that once the EU accepts Parliament’s request for a delay until Jan. 31, then you would immediately support an election.”

Johnson added: “I assume this remains your position and therefore you will support an election next week so the voters can replace this broken Parliament.”

In response, Labour said it would back an election if a no-deal Brexit is “taken off the table” and if the Article 50 extension offered by the EU, which is expected Friday, “allows” for that.