Thursday

15th Apr 2021

Johnson pushes for December election, puts aside Brexit bill

  • British PM Boris Johnson is set for an election campaign

British prime minister Boris Johnson will continue to push for an early December election on Tuesday (29 October).

In an effort to secure the support from the smaller Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party for an election before Christmas, Johnson will abandon attempts to get his Brexit bill through parliament.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Pro-EU LibDems and the SNP have been arguing for a snap election on 9 December - to ensure there is not enough time for parliament to pass the Brexit bill before it dissolves - while Johnson has been pushing for an election on 12 December.

Both these opposition parties want to reverse Brexit, and have had an increase of support in the opinion polls.

On Tuesday, Johnson will publish a bill proposing the 12 December date which would only need a simple majority to succeed, unlike the two-thirds majority of MPs required in previous attempts, when he failed.

He would still need the backing of smaller parties such as Lib Dems and SNP.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would study the bill calling for an early election but said that a no-deal Brexit has to be ruled out first.

The Lib Dems are also sceptical, with party leader Jo Swinson telling MPs she did not trust Johnson's assurances.

Johnson's government argued that it needs the 12 December date in order to pass Northern Ireland's budget legislation.

The premier also said that parliament was "dysfunctional".

"We will not allow this paralysis to continue, and one way or another we must proceed straight to an election," Johnson told MPs.

Last week it appeared that Johnson had enough votes backing the withdrawal agreement, but there was not enough support for the fast-paced timeline with which he wanted MPs to ratify the bill implementing the withdrawal agreement.

Johnson seems to be taking a risk if he now goes ahead with a snap election without Brexit.

Conservatives are ahead in the polls, but Nigel Farage's Brexit party is expected to exploit Johnson's failure to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October as he promised, "do or die".

'Flextension'

All this comes after Johnson secured an extension on Monday by the remaining EU-27 countries to the existing 31 October Brexit deadline.

The UK will remain an EU member until 31 January 2020, but it can leave on the first day of any months until then if in the meantime the withdrawal agreement is ratified in both Westminster and the European parliament.

The UK will also have to send a new commissioner to the incoming EU executive, led by Ursula von der Leyen.

Britain will need to refrain from preventing the 27 EU countries from going ahead with legislation of their own, particularly on negations on the long-term EU budget.

Johnson has sent a letter to the EU on Monday confirming the extension which he blamed on parliament saying it was "unwanted".

He said he hoped the EU would insist that this would be the last extension, but member states are unlikely to commit to that.

Johnson earlier promised he would rather "die in a ditch" than delay Brexit beyond 31 October.

The EU parliament 's Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt tweeted he was "relieved that finally no one died in a ditch".

"Whether the UK's democratic choice is revoke or an orderly withdraw, confirmed or not in a second referendum, the uncertainty of Brexit has gone on for far too long. This extra time must deliver a way forward," Verhofstadt added.

Brexit impasse, as UK and EU refuse to move first

Britain's main opposition party wants the EU to decide on a Brexit extension before agreeing to UK elections, but France wants to see what happens on the British vote first.

MPs vote on Johnson's latest push for Brexit deal

The EU parliament is awaiting the decision of British MPs on the Brexit deal before holding a vote by MEPs, as British PM Boris Johnson puts the Brexit deal to another vote on Tuesday.

EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK

The remaining 27 EU countries also told the UK to quickly ratify the withdrawal agreement, and start negotiations on future trade. The EU is keen to protect its own interests and prevent unfair competition from Britain.

News in Brief

  1. EU states make progress on Covid-19 'travel certificates'
  2. Michel pledges to protect von der Leyen's 'dignity' in future
  3. Libya frees UN-sanctioned human trafficker
  4. European court: jailed Turkish writer's rights violated
  5. EU set to miss 1m electric charging points by 2025 target
  6. Lavrov expects Iran nuclear deal to be saved
  7. France suspends flights from Brazil due to Covid variant
  8. Johnson & Johnson delays roll-out of vaccine in EU

Post-Brexit talks in last push until Sunday

The probability of no deal has increased as a last-ditch effort by British prime minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen did not bridge gaps.

Opinion

What a No Deal Brexit is going to look like

Research by the London School of Economics forecasts that a no-deal Brexit could be three times as bad as the pandemic for the UK economy, writes mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and the president of the Committee of the Regions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. Nato and US urge Russia to back off on Ukraine
  2. Future EU platform seeks to 'stay clean' of hate speech
  3. Denmark threatens Syria deportations amid EU concerns
  4. MEPs raise concerns on vaccine 'travel certificates'
  5. Will Romania be EU's Green Deal laggard?
  6. Muslims, Ramadan, and myths facing 'European civilisation'
  7. Europe & Africa - rebuilding the future
  8. How the pandemic became an EU goldmine for crime

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us