How each party could vote on Boris Johnson bid for December election
Boris Johnson wants MPs to agree to a general election on December 12.
But will they give him what he wants? To secure an election via the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, the PM would need two-thirds of MPs, 434 of them, to back campaigning in the winter months.
Here is how each of the major political parties stand on a pre-Christmas polling date:
– Conservative Party
Mr Johnson has requested an election twice already and has now pressed again following MPs’ decision to vote down his high-speed timetable for his Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Tuesday.
In the wake of that defeat and following a meeting with his Cabinet, the PM said he would give MPs “more time” to debate the Brexit deal but on condition they “agree to a general election on December 12” when it goes to a Commons vote.
Not all Tories are sold on the idea, however. Tories north of the border are anxious about campaigning in Remain-voting Scotland before Brexit is delivered and where it will be dark by 3pm and accompanied by plummeting temperatures.
Senior backbenchers such as David Lidington and Damian Green, both former de facto deputies to Theresa May when she was PM, used interviews on Thursday to call for Mr Johnson to focus on delivering his Brexit deal instead.
– Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn’s team have briefed that they would agree to an election “as soon as the risk of a no-deal crash out is taken off the table”.
The EU are likely to announce its decision on an extension on Friday.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told reporters on Thursday that Labour – with its 245 MPs – was ready for an election “whenever it comes”.
In interviews, shadow cabinet ministers have been pointing out that there is currently not sufficient support for a second referendum on Europe but pro-EU backbenchers have said an election should not be about a “binary issue” such as Brexit.
Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has not minced her words on the issue of a pre-Christmas election, seemingly not agreeing with Tory complaints that a winter campaign could be a hard slog in Scotland.
Her 35 MPs could be about to back an election motion after the First Minister told journalists in Westminster: “If there is an extension nailed down, then the right next move is to put this issue back to the electorate.
“I would be very happy to see that general election before Christmas.”
– Liberal Democrats
The pro-EU party has long said its preference is to secure another referendum on Brexit.
But the Lib Dems, with 19 MPs, has said it would vote for an election as long as the Halloween exit deadline is safely shifted into the future.
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “As for a general election, we would not support one until an extension to Article 50 was confirmed. Once it’s been agreed, we would.”
Film buffs will all have heard of 12 Angry Men but the DUP make up the 10 Angry MPs group at the moment, following Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal concessions on Northern Ireland.
Sammy Wilson, the party’s Brexit spokesman, has indicated that the unionists could support an election in a bid to secure better terms with the EU.
Speaking last week, he said: “I believe, with a big majority, (the PM) can be more robust in his negotiations.”
– Plaid Cymru
The pro-independence party for Wales, which has four MPs in Westminster, does not see an election changing what it regards to be the fundamentals of the Brexit debate – even with an EU extension.
“Our priority remains delivering a final say referendum, rather than an election, as the clearest way to end the Brexit chaos,” said a Plaid spokesman.
– Green Party
Another pro-second referendum outfit, the party would prefer to give the public a final say on the Brexit deal.
But given they have appointed a new head of communications this week suggests the leadership is gearing up for a fight to win its much sought after second parliamentary seat.