64.27 F
New York, US
September 22, 2023
English News

Crucial Brexit week may spark another mid-term election in UK

The drumbeat for another mid-term election grew louder on Monday as the Boris Johnson government and the opposition – including many ruling party rebel MPs – prepared for a week of Brexit endgame when Parliament re-opens on Tuesday.

Due to Parliament’s controversial prorogation at an earlier date, MPs opposed to Johnson’s version of Brexit have this week to legislate and ensure that the UK does not leave the EU on October 31 without an agreement. Courts are also due to hear challenges to the prorogation.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for an election, while rebel Conservative MPs have been told by party whips that they face de-selection as candidates at the next election if they voted against the government, raising stakes and forcing them to choose between country and conscience.

The UK last had a mid-term election in 2017, when the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, hoped to win a comfortable majority for her version of Brexit, but ended up losing the majority won in 2015 and forming a minority government with outside support.

The Johnson government currently has a majority of one in the House of Commons, placing politics around Brexit-related legislation on a knife-edge. Johnson will need the opposition Labour’s support as part of a two-thirds majority required to trigger the mid-term election.

Corbyn made his plans for the week clear in a speech on Monday: “So, first we must come together to stop no deal. This week could be our last chance. We are working with other parties to do everything necessary to pull our country back from the brink”.

“Then we need a general election. When a government finds itself without a majority the solution is not to undermine democracy. The solution is to let the people decide, and call a general election”.There is intense politicking within the ruling Conservative party, with David Gauke, senior cabinet minister in the May government, alleging that Johnson wants to ‘purge’ rebels MPs who oppose his version of Brexit, particularly the no-deal option.

Gauke told BBC: “I don’t think there seems to be a huge effort to persuade people to support the government this week. They seem quite prepared for a rebellion and then to purge those who support the rebellion from the party.”

According to him, the Johnson government is “almost goading people into voting against” it to pave the way for a general election, adding that he would be prepared to lose his job to vote against the no-deal option: “I have to put what I consider to be the national interest first.”

Developments since Johnson took over as prime minister in July suggest that the key point of contention has moved from ‘Brexit or no-Brexit’ to ‘Brexit with or without an agreement’. The no-deal option is considered economically an act of grave self-harm for the country, but one that Johnson is pushing partly as a negotiating position with EU leaders in Brussels.

First Published: Sep 02, 2019 18:32 IST

Related posts

Cops issue new appeal to find James Bond guns stolen in London heist

On Punjab

Justin Trudeau slams US Capitol chaos, calls it ‘an attack on democracy’

On Punjab

Soon-to-be-mom Kareena Kapoor enjoys mother Babita’s ‘haath ka maalish’, see pic

On Punjab