Jeremy Corbyn says he WILL back an early general election if the EU rules out No Deal

Daily Mail Online 0 month ago

Labour was today at war over whether to support an early general election amid growing fears the party will be decimated if it stays neutral on Brexit at a snap poll. 

Jeremy Corbyn wants to back holding an early election but he is under increasing pressure from some members of the shadow cabinet to block Boris Johnson from going to the country early.  

They believe Mr Corbyn should push for a second referendum instead in the hope it would take the sting out of Brexit and give the party a better chance of victory when the next national ballot does take place.  

Labour's stance on the holding of a general election is becoming increasingly important after Mr Johnson's Brexit plans were scuppered. 

MPs backed his deal but then rejected his proposed Brext timetable, making hitting the October 31 deadline all but impossible and virtually guaranteeing the EU will offer a delay. 

If Brussels gives the UK a three month extension to January 31 - as has been mooted - Mr Johnson is expected to try to force a general election to break the Brexit impasse once and for all. 

But without the support of Labour he could struggle to get his wish because the most straight forward path to an election would require two thirds of MPs to back one taking place.   

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry and shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer are believed to be among a number of senior Labour figures who want Mr Corbyn to stand in the way of an election and pursue a second referendum.  

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader pictured in the Commons today, has said he will support a general election once a No Deal Brexit has been ruled out
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader pictured in the Commons today, has said he will support a general election once a No Deal Brexit has been ruled out
Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary pictured in Manchester at the end of September, today said Labour will support an early election if No Deal is ruled out
Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary pictured in Manchester at the end of September, today said Labour will support an early election if No Deal is ruled out

The growing split on the issue became clear today as Mr Corbyn's spokesman said Labour will back an election as long as a No Deal Brexit has been taken off the table. 

The spokesman said: 'We will support an election as soon as the risk of a No Deal is taken off the table and what that means will depend on the exact terms of the EU offer.  

'We will need something which has legal force. What we are trying to avoid is any kind of shenanigans on the government's side, any kind of moving of the goal posts which would allow a No Deal crash-out.' 

Mr Corbyn reportedly recently told Labour MPs that they 'cannot afford to turn down another election request'. 

One of his leading allies, shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, echoed a similar sentiment this morning as he said that he wanted an election as soon as a chaotic divorce from the EU was ruled out. 

Outlining the circumstances in which Labour would back a snap poll, he said: 'If the EU responds by agreeing an extension of a number of months that means that Boris Johnson in that time can't push us out through a No Deal Brexit.'

Mr Burgon said 'Labour will be calling for a general election once a No Deal is off the table'.

Many Labour MPs are concerned about their chances at a general election if the party sticks to its current policy of staying neutral on Brexit. 

Mr Corbyn's plan is to stay neutral, win power at an election and then offer voters a second referendum with Labour picking a side in the run up to the ballot.

A number of recent opinion polls have given the Tories double digit leads over Labour despite the ongoing Brexit chaos.

Even if Mr Corbyn wins the internal battle over backing an election it is still possible that many Labour MPs could defy him when it actually comes to the vote in the Commons. 

Ben Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, hinted at that possibility today as he said the likes of Mr Burgon would 'feel very lonely in the division lobby' voting in favour of an election. 

If two thirds of MPs voted in favour of an election, the law dictates that the polling day must take place at least 25 working days later. 

That means that if a vote on an election was to take place before the end of next week, the nation could go to the polls at the start of December.


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