General election finally agreed but Corbyn makes new date demand – fresh row on cards

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BORIS JOHNSON has vowed to accept an SNP and Lib Dem amendment to allow an election on December 11 following his defeat in the Commons last night – and now Jeremy Corbyn has said he will back today’s vote.

  • Brexit: Ian Blackford ridiculed by Conservatives in Parliament

The Prime Minister’s new pledge would mean an election would be held 24 hours earlier than the date that was rejected by MPs on Monday. This comes after the Lib Dems and SNP both previously said they have tabled their own bill calling for an election on December 9. Kevin Schofield, editor of Politics Home, tweeted: “Number 10 sources say they would accept an SNP/Lib Dem amendment to allow an election to take place on December 11.

“Big pressure now on the SNP and Libs to accept this compromise offer from Downing Street.

“Might that also be a more palatable date for Labour?”

Labour today said it will back a national vote. However, sources reveal Mr Corbyn still wants to date moved to December 9.

Number 10 said December 9 is not practical as vital legislation needs to be passed.

Under the Electoral Registration and Administration Act, an election requires at least 25 working days between dissolution and the election date.

Boris Johnson has said he will back a SNP and Lib Dem amendment

Boris Johnson has said he will back a SNP and Lib Dem amendment (Image: GETTY)

This means Parliament would have to dissolve on November 1 if there was an election on December 9.

There would be a risk of several bits of legislation not being passed in time.

This included Government legislation covering the continued failure to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland.

A senior government source told Politics Home: “We would accept an SNP/Lib Dem amendment to the date in the election bill to allow it to be held on the 11th.”

Jo Swinson said the Lib Dems were pushing for a December 9 election

Jo Swinson said the Lib Dems were pushing for a December 9 election (Image: GETTY)

The Government fell 135 votes short of the 434 needed on Monday’s vote.

Afterwards, Mr Johnson told MPs they had to end the deadlock over Brexit.

He said: “We will not allow this paralysis to continue.”

Earlier in the day, EU leaders confirmed that they would extend Britain’s withdrawal date to January 31.

Ian Blackford wants a “cast-iron guarantee” on the Brexit deal

Ian Blackford wants a “cast-iron guarantee” on the Brexit deal (Image: GETTY)

Lib Dem MP Chuka Umunna said his party is against holding a general election on Mr Johnson’s preferred polling date of December 12.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “It cannot be the 12th.

“We will see what else they come forward with. We have got to break the gridlock.”

“We are not prepared to accept the 12th. If you have the 12th, it presents an opportunity for the Government to try and get their Withdrawal Agreement Bill through.

“We know that they have a record of going back on their promises and breaking the law, so we cannot trust them on that.”

Boris has faced opposition from other party leaders over his Brexit plans

Boris has faced opposition from other party leaders over his Brexit plans (Image: EXPRESS)

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson added: “If Boris Johnson wants a general election, then he could have supported our Bill for a general election on December 9.

“Instead, he has chosen to stick to his original plan for December 12 which we have already rejected.”

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said they would need a “cast-iron guarantee” that the Prime Minister would not try to bring back his Brexit deal to Parliament.

He told MPs: “It is clear that there is a desire on the Opposition benches to bring forward a Bill that can give us an election. But we don’t trust this Prime Minister and we don’t trust this Prime Minister for good reason.

Boris Johnson's December 12 election plan was rejected on Monday

Boris Johnson’s original December 12 election plan was rejected on Monday (Image: GETTY)

“So the Prime Minister, if he is going to bring forward a Bill, must give an absolute cast-iron assurance that up until the passage of that Bill and the rising of Parliament, that there will be no attempt to bring forward the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.”

Commons Speaker John Bercow said opposition MPs would have the ability to table amendments to the Bill on Tuesday.

Government sources had suggested the proposed Lib Dem-SNP timetable, which would mean Parliament would have to be dissolved at one minute past midnight on Friday morning, was too tight to deliver.

Updated: October 30, 2019 — 5:57 am

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