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Crisis in the Commons

Johnson loses vote for snap election as Brexit mired in chaos

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson: losing votes

Boris Johnson’s grip on power was weakened further tonight after he suffered two defeats in the Commons within hours.

But the beleaguered Prime Minister turned the heat on Jeremy Corbyn describing him as “chicken” after the Labour leader ordered his MPs to vote against Mr Johnson’s call for a snap election on 15 October.

He taunted Mr Corbyn as the first Opposition leader ‘in history’ to turn down the opportunity of a poll.

The PM needed to get the agreement of two-thirds of the House for an early election, but just 298 MPs backed his call, compared to the 434 required.

“Forty eight hours ago he was leading the chants of ”stop the coup, let the people vote”, now he is saying ”stop the election and stop the people from voting’,” said Mr Johnson.

“I think he has become the first Leader of the Opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation to an election.

“I can only speculate as to the reasons behind his hesitation, the obvious conclusion is, I’m afraid, that he does not think he will win.”

Mr Johnson earlier lost the second reading of the Bill to prevent a No Deal Brexit before 31 October by 29 votes.

That suggests two more Tories might lose the whip. One is believed to be former Cabinet minister Caroline Spelman.

The bill now moves to the committee stage, which gives MPs the chance to debate the legislation in detail and discuss amendments.

Mr Corbyn tonight told MPs that Labour will support a motion for a general election as soon as the Bill to stop No Deal becomes law.

“I repeat what I said last night, Mr Speaker: Let this Bill pass and gain Royal Assent, then we will back an election.”

The extraordinary events followed a YouGov poll which suggests the SNP could win 51 of Scotland’s 59 seats, with the Tories reduced to 3 and Labour down to 1.

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