PM says Commons is ‘incapable’ of delivering Brexit as he urges MPs to back poll

Boris Johnson has said the House of Commons is “incapable” of delivering Brexit as he urged MPs to back his plan for a pre-Christmas general election.

The Prime Minister’s rallying cry came as he confirmed the UK’s “formal agreement” to the EU extending Britain’s membership until January 31 – unless Parliament ratifies his Brexit deal sooner.

With his pledge to take Britain out of the EU by the end of this month in tatters, Mr Johnson called on MPs to back his plan for a poll on December 12 – which would provide time to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before the campaign starts.

Mr Johnson said: “Across the country there is a widespread view that this Parliament has run its course.

“I simply do not believe that this House is capable of delivering on the priorities of the people, whether that means Brexit or anything else.”

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Possible general election timetables (PA Graphics)

The motion, laid under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), would require a two-thirds Commons majority – 434 MPs – to agree to an election on December 12.

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would not agree to anything until it is “clear and concrete exactly what is being proposed” – but that the party would “consider carefully” any legislation which “locks in” the date of an election.

It comes amid Liberal Democrat and SNP moves for a poll on December 9.

European Council president Donald Tusk announced on Monday morning that the EU27 had agreed to accept the UK’s request for a Brexit “flextension” until January 31.

Mr Johnson wrote to Mr Tusk to confirm the UK’s formal agreement to the plan, but said he viewed the “unwanted prolongation” of the UK’s membership as “damaging to our democracy and to the relationship between us and our European friends”.

“While we will of course not seek to deliberately disrupt the EU’s business, I must underline that I continue to have a responsibility as Prime Minister to protect the UK’s national interests during this period, including in EU decision-making,” the PM said.

“I would have much preferred it if the UK Parliament could have proceeded rapidly to ratify the deal we reached between us.

“Unfortunately I very much fear that this Parliament will never do so as long as it has the option of further delay. That is why I am seeking a general election in December to ensure the election of a fresh Parliament which is capable of resolving the issue in accordance with our constitutional norms.”

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