Boris Johnson fails in third attempt to call early general election

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Boris Johnson has lost his third bid for a general election, after Labour abstained and he failed to reach the two-thirds majority of MPs he needed for a poll. The result was 299 votes for and 70 against.

The prime minister is now expected to back a Liberal Democrat plan to change the law in order to secure an early election, although the parties do not yet agree on a date.

The Lib Dems want a date of 9 December, while students are still at university, but the Tories favour 12 December, after some have broken up for Christmas.

Following the vote, Johnson said he would come back to the House on Tuesday with a Bill for a December 12 election that will require a simple majority rather than the two-thirds of MPs required for Monday’s vote.

Johnson said: “Later on this evening, the government will give notice for the presentation a short bill an election on 12 December so we can finally get Brexit done. The house cannot any longer keep this country hostage … Now that no deal is off the table, we have a great new deal. It’s time to put that to the
voters.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, suggested his party could also back the Lib Dem plan after coming under pressure to back an early poll. The party has been saying that it cannot support an election until a no-deal Brexit is removed as a risk.

“We will consider carefully any legislation on an early election,” he said, adding that a date needed to be locked down in law to prevent Johnson trying to move it for his own advantage.

Corbyn also suggested he would want the vote to happen earlier than 12 December, before students have broken up for the winter holiday, saying any plan would need to “protect the voting rights of all of our citizens”.