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Thursday, Oct 22, 2020

UK’s Boris Johnson seeks Dec. 12 election to break Brexit impasse

Two days after lawmakers stymied Johnson's latest attempt to pass his European Union divorce deal, he said Thursday that the only way to break Britain's Brexit impasse was a general election. Johnson said he would ask lawmakers to vote Monday on a motion calling a national poll for Dec. 12.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally abandoned his promise of an October Brexit and pinned his hopes on a December election.

Two days after lawmakers stymied Johnson’s latest attempt to pass his European Union divorce deal, he said Thursday that the only way to break Britain’s Brexit impasse was a general election. Johnson said he would ask lawmakers to vote Monday on a motion calling a national poll for Dec. 12.

To hold an election Johnson must win a vote by a two-thirds majority among lawmakers. That looked like a tough task, with the main opposition Labour Party saying it would only back an election once the risk of Britain crashing out of the EU on Oct. 31 its scheduled departure date had been removed.

Parliament has already dealt Johnson a series of setbacks and derailed his promise to take Britain out of the EU by the end of the month, “come what may.”

The most recent blow came Tuesday, when lawmakers blocked Johnson’s attempt to fast-track an EU divorce bill through Parliament in a matter of days, saying they needed more time to scrutinize the legislation.

Britain’s next scheduled election is in 2022. To secure an early election, Johnson needs either to win Monday’s vote in Parliament, or lose a no-confidence vote, which so far opposition parties have refused to call.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would wait and see whether the EU agreed to delay Britain’s departure from the bloc. Johnson grudgingly asked for a three-month delay until Jan. 31 on the orders of Britain’s Parliament, which wants to avert the economic damage that could come from a no-deal exit.

“Take no-deal off the table and we absolutely support a general election,” Corbyn said.

He said that “if the EU will answer tomorrow then we’ll know tomorrow.”

Smaller opposition parties said they wanted an election but were wary of doing it on Johnson’s terms.

“The U.K. government has no coherent plan to end the Brexit chaos and a general election will not solve the crisis,” said Adam Price, leader of the Welsh party Plaid Cymru.

Johnson said it would be “morally incredible” if opposition lawmakers blocked an election.
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