Brexit | Boris Johnson to seek snap polls if rebels don’t budge: All you need to know

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek a general election on October 14 if Members of Parliament (MPs) block the option of leaving the European Union (EU) without a deal, reports suggest.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on September 3 on a plan that would give MPs, who are opposed to the prime minister’s Brexit strategy, control of the parliamentary agenda.

To avoid a no-deal Brexit, UK would have to pass an exit plan into law, get a fresh extension from the European Union (EU) or stop Brexit altogether.

Hence, the rebel MPs are seeking to pass a legislation to force Johnson to ask for further delay to Brexit.

If the lawmakers are successful in doing so, reports suggest Johnson would call for a snap poll.

“Members of Parliament will face a very simple choice tomorrow (September 3) 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,” a source told news agency Reuters.

“But, if they vote tomorrow to wreck the negotiating process, to go against giving Britain the ability to negotiate a deal, then they will also have to reflect on what comes next,” the person added.

In a situation like that, the motion seeking a general election would then be expected to be voted upon on September 4 and would require a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons to pass.

If passed, the election would likely be on October 14, reports suggest adding that Johnson did not prefer a snap election.

No-deal Brexit: What Johnson is pushing for

Leaving the EU with a deal would mean that the two sides would get a certain number of months for transition. Status quo would have been maintained during the transition process, to ensure that UK’s departure is not abrupt.

However, Johnson is essentially pushing for a no-deal Brexit. This would mean that UK would leave the EU on October 31 immediately. It would effectively leave the single market and customs union, European institutions such as the European Court of Justice and Europol, overnight.

Who stands where on snap polls

Leader of Opposition and Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn has backed the possibility of a snap general election.

During an address in Salford, Corbyn said an election was the “democratic way forward” and “would give the people a choice between two very different directions”.

This, even as former prime minister Tony Blair said it could prove to be an “elephant trap” for Labour.

Blair said it was clear that in an election, the opposition vote would be split and it would lead to “a comfortable Tory (Conservative Party) majority”.

According to research and analysis firm YouGov (as of September 3), Corbyn is the most popular Labour Party leader and the third-most popular political leader in UK behind Johnson and May. Johnson leads with only a small margin.

Talking about the possibility of a snap poll, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted “bring it on” but added that “it must be before October 31.”

“MPs must not allow Johnson to game the date as a ploy to push through a no deal Brexit,” she added.

Then prime minister Theresa May had on April 18, 2017 called for snap general elections, a full three years ahead of schedule.

May desperately sought public approval of her leadership, given that she rose to the PM’s post after David Cameron stepped down and there was no public vote involved.

May’s decision had surprised many. In public, the Prime Minister said she wanted a clear mandate before the start of negotiations on Britain’s future after it exits EU. But those reading between the lines had felt that May’s overconfidence about her government’s popularity and a stumbling opposition had triggered the move to conduct early elections.

Opinion polls seemed to back her confidence. May’s Conservative Party initially enjoyed a lead of 20 points over their main rival, the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party.

However, as the UK swung into election mode, May’s approval ratings plummeted. By the month of May, the ruling party’s popularity had plunged.

May’s Conservative Party fell short of the majority mark and was only able to form a minority government with ‘confidence and supply’ from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

In June, May stepped aside saying that she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of “deep regret” that she was unable to do so. Johnson succeeded her.

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