Johnson: election on 14 October if rebels back ‘pointless delay’
Determined: Boris Johnson on the steps of Downing Street appealing to Tory rebels
Boris Johnson will call a general election for 14 October if rebel Tory MPs and remainers vote to block No Deal tomorrow.
The Prime Minister, speaking on the steps of Downing Street following an unscheduled Cabinet meeting, appealed to Tory rebels to support his Brexit negotiating position, urging them not to back another “pointless delay”, and saying he did not want an early General Election.
He said progress was being made on Brexit and he insisted Britain will leave as planned on 31 October.
However, it emerged this evening that the Cabinet agreed that there will be a vote on Wednesday to hold a general election on 14 October if the rebels and Labour do unite to call what will be seen as a confidence vote.
Those MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit will seek on Tuesday to take control of parliamentary time to pass legislation which would force Mr Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit.
Separately in Edinburgh, a cross-party group of MPs – led by Joanna Cherry – will have their court case heard in full over Mr Johnson’s plans to prorogue Parliament, and whether the move is unlawful and unconstitutional.
Undeterred, Mr Johnson called for unity. “One thing that could hold us back is the sense in Brussels that MPs may find some way to cancel the referendum or that tomorrow MPs will vote with Jeremy Corbyn for yet another pointless delay. I don’t think they will, I hope that they won’t,” he said.
“But if they do they will plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible.
“There are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on the 31 October. No ifs or buts.
“We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum and armed and fortified with that conviction I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October, a deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise.”
The Prime Minister, speaking against a chorus of protestors in Whitehall chanting “Stop the coup”, added: “As we come to that Brexit deadline I am encouraged by the progress we are making.
“In the last few weeks the chances of a deal have been rising I believe for three reasons: they [Brussels] can see that we want a deal, they can see that we have a clear vision for our future relationship with the EU, something that perhaps has not always been the case, and they can see that we are utterly determined to strengthen our position by getting ready to come out, regardless, come what may.”
On speculation that he would be calling a General Election, he said: “I don’t want an election, you don’t want an election.”
Cabinet sources later said that if MPs do vote for the proposed extension bill, Mr Johnson may seek a motion later this week calling a general election.