'Chicken' Jeremy Corbyn blocks Boris Johnson's snap general election and No Deal Brexit
JEREMY Corbyn and Tory rebels have tonight thrown out Boris Johnson’s demands for a snap election and rammed through laws to stop a No Deal Brexit.
The PM’s bold rallying cry to go to the polls was rejected by MPs who claimed he was setting them a “trap”.
Only 298 MPs opted for an election – far short of the two thirds of MPs (434) he needed to get it through.
The vote was lost after Corbyn ordered his MPs to abstain on the vote in the knowledge that this would prevent Boris getting the 2/3 majority he needed.
The decision to abstain rather than outright reject the vote was a vain move to dodge accusations the Labour leader is being cowardly by turning down the chance to fight Boris in an election.
It's the first time an Opposition party has ever not voted for an election.
Boris demanded to go to the country rather than accept Corbyn’s demands to go cap in hand back to Brussels in just six weeks’ time.
Speaking to ITV’s Robert Peston, Boris mocked Corbyn, saying he may need to “get out the chicken suit”.
And he claimed he believed Labour would be so “consumed by cowardice” they would fold and back a poll.
'GET OUT THE CHICKEN SUIT'
“I don’t think I have, I have never known a time in modern history when the Leader of the Opposition has refused to take part in a general election," Boris said.
“I can only invite our viewers, Robert, to speculate why he may be so disinclined – does somebody need to get out the chicken suit?”
Boris even said he believed Corbyn had gone against his "constitutional duty" as Opposition leader to take part in a general election.
But he doubled down on his decision to boot out 21 Tory MPs including Sir Ken Clarke and Sir Nicholas Soames.
“These are friends of mine I take no joy in any of it. But it was sad and surprising that they should choose to undermine our ability to get a deal.”
Boris had earlier begged rebels to let the people decide a way out of the Brexit deadlock that has paralysed Westminster for three years – and let them choose who they want to get them out of this mess.
His plan was to call a vote in mid-October and storm a crunch Brussels summit on October 17 to demand a new deal, with a fresh mandate from the British people.
'CORBYN DOES NOT BELIEVE HE CAN WIN'
The PM taunted the stony-faced Labour boss in the Commons tonight after his defeat, saying: "He’s the first leader in the history of this country to refuse an invitation for an election!
"The obvious conclusion is that he does not think he will win."
He then joked it that it was also a first that the "Opposition has opted to show confidence in Her Majesty's Government!"
The PM is now stuck in a devastating deadlock which could wreck his vow to leave the EU do or die on October 31.
However, defiant Boris is not giving up without a fight and Number 10 is already plotting new ways to force through a general election and give the people the chance to decide Brexit.
Boris hinted he could try again and bring another election forward in the "next few days".
He could escape from the mess as early as next week as Jeremy Corbyn promised to back an election as soon as a No Deal bill from rebels becomes law.
It will force Boris to go back to EU and seek another Brexit extension.
He’s the first leader in the history of this country to refuse an invitation for an election
He told the Commons tonight: "I don't want an election, but this House has left no other option than letting the public decide who they want as PM.
"Is he now going to say the public cannot be allowed an election to decide which of us sorts out this mess?
"He has demanded an election for two years while blocking Brexit!"
But Corbyn claimed: "The offer of the election is a bit like the offer of an apple to Snow White.
"Not an apple but the poison of a No Deal."
Significantly, Corbyn did say he would support an election after the rebels' bill gained Royal Assent with a rubber stamp from the Queen.
This could happen by the start of next week, which would leave enough time for an election to still take place in October before the crunch EU summit.
If Boris won an election and got a majority then he could repeal the law.
This move by Corbyn goes against the claim of shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer that Labour would wait until the bill had been enacted on October 19, further showing the splits within the party.
Tonight rebels led by Hilary Benn and Sir Keir Starmer rammed the next stage of their new No Deal blocking, 'Surrender' law through the Commons.
MPs opted 327 – 299 to bat the bill over to the Lords this evening for more debates and votes.
But in an extraordinary turn of events Theresa May's deal won a new lease of life in scenes of chaos in the Commons.
A bid from 17 Labour MPs to lay down a version of the ex-PM's old deal again will now have to appear within days.
On another dramatic day in Westminster:
- Winston Churchill's grandson Nicholas Soames fought back tears during an emotional speech after Boris booted him out of the Tories
- Philip Hammond led a furious backlash from the rebels who were kicked out last night – and said he'd rather "boil his head" than hand power to Corbyn
- Donald Trump backed Boris again after his defeats, telling reporters: "Boris knows how to win. Don’t worry about him."
- Thousands of protesters gathered outside Westminster as the crunch clash took place inside the Commons
Earlier today Boris tore into Corbyn for refusing to support an election and dubbed him “chlorinated chicken”.
Boris raged: "Let the people decide! Let the people decide on what he is doing to this negotiating position by having a general election on October 15."
And he appeared to mouth: “Call an election – you great big girls’ blouse!”
The PM has point blank refused to ask for another extension from Brussels – and tonight stressed he wouldn’t quit either.
Let the people decide on what he is doing to this negotiating position by having a general election on October 15.
SNP boss Nicola Sturgeon was piling on the pressure tonight for Mr Corbyn to back the motion to call an election – but her MPs backed down after it was clear he wouldn't vote for it.
She tweeted: "It's starting to feel like Labour doesn't want an election at all – and leaving this PM in place knowing he'll try every trick in book to get what he wants would be irresponsible.
"Opposition must get bill through and then seek to force election BEFORE Parliament prorogued."
But their leader in Westminster, Ian Blackford said tonight: "Once a no deal has been blocked, MPs across this House and on the opposition benches should come together to bring down this government – not on the Prime Minister’s terms, but on the right terms."
A poll last night put the SNP on track to nick seats off the Tories in Scotland, which is why the SNP are so keen for a snap poll.
The Sun Says
FOR two years Labour has goaded the Tories into calling an election. Now, incredibly, the wretched, snivelling coward Corbyn runs away from one.
Every day he and his arrogant Marxist mob sneered “Bring it on!” Until the moment they were finally offered the chance to stand before the electorate.
Corbyn and his greasy sidekick Keir Starmer have concocted wafer-thin excuses for this monstrous U-turn. The public won’t buy them.
Boris Johnson has reluctantly accepted that voters must now decide whether to go ahead with Brexit, deal or No Deal, on October 31.
Or whether Labour and treacherous ex-Tories should be able to enforce an aimless further delay, condemning an exhausted public to more bitter division and costly uncertainty.
Labour isn’t as scared of No Deal as it is of a ballot-box reckoning. Mainly for its MPs in Leave marginals, faced now with campaigning for Remain. Labour no longer respects the 17.4million Brexit voters it has betrayed. But they have to face them in the end. Why not now?
If Corbyn truly believed he was a shoo-in for No10 he would bite Boris’s hand off for the chance to snatch the keys. But his ratings are at historic lows.
He feebly tries to claim the PM wants “to avoid scrutiny”. But Boris is literally inviting it from voters. Corbyn is chicken.
Labour knows its Brexit “policy” — “we’ll negotiate a new deal, then campaign against it” — is comically ridiculous. It knows it is grievously wounded by its anti-
Jewish racism, its ruinous economic policies, its fondness for tyrants and terrorists and its idolising of collapsed Latin American dictatorships.
It fears Boris’s Brexit-backing Tories, no matter how weak they now appear.
Corbyn was always an unpleasant dimwit and a liar. Turns out he is a bottler too.
Tories accused Labour of running scared of an election.
Nigel Evans blasted after tonight's vote: "I’ve been an MP for 28 years and I have not seen anything like that – it’s Alice in Wonderland meets Westminster.
"You can’t carry on as the Leader of the Opposition saying you want to turf out Boris Johnson without having that early election."
Veteran Tory Ian Duncan Smith raged: "I've never seen a moment when an opposition doesn’t want to take over.
“This is a bizarre affair when they are running away from trying to defeat a Government.
"If the Right Honourable Gentleman who leads the Labour Party right now genuinely believes in democracy – put up or shut up!”
Lucy Allen MP tweeted: "A general election is a people's vote but UKLabour won't let the people have a say."
And Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng said that the leftie leader was frightened of a vote.
He told the BBC: "The leader of the opposition has said repeatedly that he wants an election, and it’s perverse of him to say now that he doesn’t want one. It suggests that he’s rather frightened of a general election."
Former Tory leader Lord Michael Howard said MPs opposing a general election are acting with "arrogance".
"Not only do they think they know better, they are not prepared to let the British people have their say in an election," he raged.
Meanwhile, some Labour MPs were fuming too with the decision to dodge a crunch chance to go to the polls.
We are not voting for a general election today
Labour backbencher John Mann was outraged, tweeting: "Oh these clever people. Let's spit on the working class and a majority of the electorate. Stop Brexit.
"Then ask them to vote us into power. We are dealing with people who don't respect the views of the people."
Meanwhile, top Tories lashed out with fury after 21 rebels were booted out of the party following last night’s historic defeat.
Philip Hammond said it was Boris who was making a Jeremy Corbyn more likely – and that he would sooner “boil my head” than hand him power.
May's deal gets brought back from the dead
THERESA MAY’s Brexit deal won an extraordinary new lease of life last night in scenes of utter chaos in the Commons.
A move by 17 Labour ‘leave’ MPs to force Boris Johnson to publish a draft Brexit agreement based on the ex-PM’s proposal was PASSED last night during the vote on legislation to block a No Deal.
The amendment tabled by Labour’s Stephen Kinnock and Ruth Smeeth went through as no ‘tellers’ were available to count the number of MPs poised to vote it down.
It means MPs will have a chance to debate and vote on a version of the Withdrawal Agreement if and when an extension to the current Brexit deadline of October 31 is implemented.
There is no deadline or specified date for the vote.
Sources claimed the ‘Reman’ Alliance led by Labour were “furious”.
But one Commons clerk last night downplayed the significance of the move. The clerk – Graeme Cowie – said he wasn’t “sure what this amendment does”.
And he added: “It attaches a purpose for the desired extension, but it doesn’t actually compel a Government to actually introduce a bill.”
Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement was voted down three times. Mr Kinnock wanted a new deal based on cross-party talks with Labour – which had paved the way for a closer customs union with the EU – to be at the centre of the new deal.
BORIS Johnson last night revealed his plan to break the Brexit deadlock — agreeing an all-Ireland market for livestock and agriculture.
During a bitter Commons debate, the PM said he was ready to propose an alternative to the backstop.
Under the plan, Northern Ireland would match Irish and EU rules in certain sectors after Brexit to avoid the need for a hard border. The idea emerged ahead of talks with Irish PM Leo Varadkar, left, next week.
It mimics a compromise European capitals were brainstorming — where the North would mirror Brussels on animal and plant health.
It threatens to enrage Ulster Unionists by, in effect, putting a border down the Irish Sea between the Britain and Northern Ireland. But senior DUP sources hinted they could back it, as long as Belfast’s Stormont Assembly has a veto on which future EU rules Northern Ireland accepts.
The PM has repeatedly told the EU there is no chance of a deal unless the backstop — which is bitterly opposed by Brexiteers — is killed off.
The backstop is designed to avoid a hard border on Ireland by tying the UK to EU customs rules unless a new trade agreement is signed.
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