Boris shuts down Parliament after second snap poll bid fails

Boris Johnson’s second attempt to hold a snap election on Oct 15 two weeks ahead of Brexit failed early on Tuesday, minutes before he prorogued Parliament for five weeks.

Only 293 members of the 650-strong House of Commons voted for an early election, well short of the required two-thirds majority.

Johnson’s fresh poll push came after the Parliament’s bill to block a no-deal Brexit received the queen’s approval and passed into law.

An early election is now ruled out until mid-November.

In a heated debate which saw some MPs crossing the limit, Johnsons argued that a snap poll on Oct 15 would be the only way to break the political deadlock.

Since the opposition wants a delay in Brexit, they should allow people to decide if they want the delay or not by voting for a snap poll, he said.

He said he rather die in a ditch than ask for an extension to article 50 resulting in a further Brexit delay.

Later, responding to the vote loss, he said the opposition does not trust people. They think they know better. Hence they twice denied the people their say.

Opposition lawmakers are thwarting the will of the people, he said.

Participating in the debate, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, said Johnson cannot be allowed to dictate the terms of an election before a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.

Prorogation of Parliament is “disgraceful”. Johnson wants to run away from questions and avoid scrutiny of his Brexit plans.

Ed Davey, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats called the decision to suspend parliament a sad day for British democracy. Johnson is running away from accountability, he said.

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s parliamentary leader, said

Johnson is acting like a dictator by shutting down parliament at a crucial time for Brexit. It is a democratic outrage.

‘Operation Yellowhammer’

Before the vote, MPs passed a motion called Operation Yellowhammer that may force Johnson’s government to explain the suspension of Parliament and its secret plans for a no-deal Brexit.

 The government is not legally bound to publish documents and reveal private and official messages exchanged on the subjects. But if they fail to ignore the request, it may amount to contempt of Parliament. 

Former Tory MP Dominic Grieve, who tabled the motion, said officials had told him the messages contained a scandal.

Speaker to step down

In another setback to Johnson, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said he would step down on Oct 31 if there was no election before then.

Minutes later, he allowed Grieve and Corbyn to move humble addresses to the queen putting Johnson under pressure.