Opposition parties will not back Boris Johnson’s attempt to force election
Boris Johnson’s demand for a general election on his own terms became increasingly far-fetched when opposition leaders agreed to not vote with the Prime Minister during his fresh bid.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke with the leaders of the main opposition parties on Friday to discuss their resistance to holding a vote before the prospect of a no-deal Brexit on October 31 is eliminated.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNPs and Plaid Cymru are all understood to be planning on voting against or abstaining from the Fixed-Term Parliament Act when it returns to the Commons on Monday.
Opposition leaders including the Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson, the SNP’s Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts discussed tactics on Friday morning as Mr Johnson returned to the campaign trail of the election he is yet to successfully trigger.
SNP Westminster leader Mr Blackford said he was “desperate for an election”, but it could not be until an extension to Article 50 was secured.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s not just about our own party interests, it’s about our collective national interests.
“So we are prepared to work with others to make sure we get the timing right, but the timing right on the basis of securing that extension to Article 50.”
But he did anticipate that an election would be successfully called “over the course of these weeks”.
A Lib Dem spokeswoman said: “The Liberal Democrat position for a while now is that we won’t vote for a general election until we have an extension agreed with the EU. I think the others are coming round to that.
“As a group we will all vote against or abstain on Monday.”
Ms Saville Roberts said voting for an election next week would “play into Boris Johnson’s hands”, giving the PM the opportunity to ignore Parliament and force through a no-deal.
“We were in unity in our opinion, our priority is of course to stop a no-deal Brexit,” she told the BBC.
“In the short time we need to make sure that we get past the October 31 and an extension to Article 50.
“We have an opportunity to bring down Boris, to break Boris and to bring down Brexit, and we must take that.”