Boris Johnson today issued a statement on Brexit outside Number 10 Downing Street, pledging to leave the European Union “on October 31, no ifs or buts” and insisted he did not want an election. However, a senior Government source tonight said there will be a move to hold a general election if Parliament votes to take control of House of Commons business. But when will the snap general election be? What could happen next?
A senior Government source has said Mr Johnson would ask for a general election on October 14 if MPs back the cross-party move to take control of Commons business on Tuesday.
A motion for the early election will be tabled by the Government and would need the backing of two-thirds of MPs under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act.
The source said MPs will be given a “simple choice” tomorrow when voting on whether to block a no deal Brexit.
The vote would be treated as if it is a vote of no confidence according to the source, and any Conservative MP who decided to vote against the Government would have the whip removed.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on Tuesday on a plan that would grant members of parliament who oppose Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy control of the parliamentary agenda.
They would next seek to pass legislation to force him to ask for a further delay to Brexit.
If that group is successful in defeating the Government, the source said Mr Johnson would take the first step in requesting an election – offering a motion to parliament calling for one.
The source said: ”Members of Parliament will face a very simple choice tomorrow when they vote.
“If they vote to give Boris Johnson the chance to do the negotiations … that would be the best chance for Britain to get a deal.
“But, if they vote tomorrow to wreck the negotiating process, to go against giving Britain the ability to negotiate a deal, then they’ll also have to reflect on what comes next.”
The motion seeking an election would be anticipated to be taken to a vote on Wednesday and would need a two-thirds majority in the 650-seat House of Commons to pass.
The source also said while Mr Johnson did not want an election, MPs should be conscious it would be a result of their decision to vote against the government on Tuesday.
Today Mr Johnson gave a stark message to Remainers over the crunch showdown tomorrow and said he still ‘hoped’ rebels would back down.
He said: “But if they do they will plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any negotiation absolutely impossible.
“I want everybody to know there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on the 31st of October. No ifs or buts.
“We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum and armed and fortified with that conviction I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October, a deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise.
“Let our negotiators get on with their work without that sword of Damocles over their necks and without an election, without an election.”