Boris Johnson says he will agree to more time for scrutiny of Brexit deal if snap election is called
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he would give parliament more time to scrutinize his Brexit plan if it agrees to hold a snap general election on Dec. 12.
The Conservative premier suspended debates on his E.U. divorce deal after parliament on Tuesday refused to fast-track the hearings ahead of the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. Johnson is opposed to delaying Britain’s exit from the European Union a third time.
But lawmakers on Tuesday also gave their support “in principle” for the agreement. It marked the first time the House of Commons had backed any Brexit proposal since the 2016 E.U. referendum.
The E.U. is expected to agree the length of a Brexit deadline extension on Friday.
At parliament’s behest, Johnson has formally submitted a request for a three-month delay. Johnson said on Thursday that the only way to achieve a breakthrough in the process was for parliament to vote in favor of holding a general election. “The way to get Brexit done is, I think, to be reasonable with parliament and say if they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal, they can have it—but they have to agree on a general election on Dec. 12,” he said. “It’s time, frankly, that the opposition summoned up the nerve to submit themselves to the judgment of our collective boss, which is the people of the U.K.”
Johnson must win the support of two-thirds of M.P.s in the House of Commons to hold early polls under current election rules. The government could also try a different legal route that only requires a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote. But such a proposal would be amendable and allow the opposition to either change the date or make the vote conditional on other issues.