Boris Johnson set to get pre-Christmas General Election after MPs back bill

Boris Johnson is on course for a pre-Christmas general election after MPs finally backed his demands to go to the country in an attempt to end the Brexit deadlock.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 9:22 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 9:23 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the debate on the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill in the House of Commons today

The Commons voted by 438 to 20 at third reading to approve the one-page Bill enabling the election to be held on December 12.

Earlier, MPs voted by 315 to 295 to reject a Labour amendment for the proposed polling day to be moved to December 9 - three days earlier than ministers wanted.

The vote effectively clears the way for Parliament to be dissolved on November 6, paving the way for an election on December 12.

Addressing Tory MPs afterwards at Westminster, Mr Johnson said that he was prepared for a "tough" election fight in the weeks ahead.

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"I think it's time for the country to come together, get Brexit done and go forward," he said.

"It'll be a tough election and we are going to do the best we can."

The opposition parties had wanted to bring forward polling day to cut off any possibility Mr Johnson could make a fresh attempt to ram through his Brexit deal before Parliament is dissolved.

The bill will now go to the House of Lords, but after being approved by MPs it is unlikely that it will be held up by the unelected upper chamber.

The result means Mr Johnson finally has within his grasp the election he has been pushing for since September after three previous attempts - the most recent on Monday - failed.

Following the vote, Jeremy Corbyn said: "This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back."

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson confirmed they would be campaigning on a platform to halt Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

"It is our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit," she said.

"The Liberal Democrats are the strongest party of Remain and will be standing on a manifesto to stop Brexit by revoking Article 50."

The breakthrough came after Mr Corbyn finally bowed to intense pressure and agreed in principle to support an election.