Emily Thornberry confirms Labour WILL block early election on Monday
Emily Thornberry confirms Labour WILL block an early general election on Monday after she was ridiculed for her own Brexit plan to negotiate a deal and then vote against it
- Shadow foreign secretary signalled this morning Labour will block early election
- Boris Johnson to hold fresh vote on Monday in second attempt to force election
- But without Labour support the PM appears to be on course to fall short again
- Came as Ms Thornberry ridiculed over Labour’s ‘completely mad’ Brexit stance
Emily Thornberry today confirmed Labour will block Boris Johnson’s attempt on Monday to force an early general election after she was ridiculed over her party’s ‘completely mad’ Brexit policy.
The shadow foreign secretary said Labour needed to be ‘absolutely sure’ that the UK will not crash out of the EU without a deal before it backs a snap poll.
Her comments suggest Labour will wait until a Brexit delay has been agreed with the EU to stop a chaotic split on October 31 before giving the PM the support he needs to go to the country early.
However such a course of action will put Labour on a collision course with Mr Johnson who wants an election on October 15 and has repeatedly said he will not ask Brussels for a Brexit extension.
A law to stop No Deal and force the PM to seek a delay at a European Council meeting on October 17 if no agreement has been struck between the two sides is expected to make it onto the statute book by Monday.
Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford reportedly agreed at secret talks yesterday that they will withhold support for an election until after the Brussels summit, meaning a poll could take place at the end of October or in November.
Mr Johnson could therefore be forced to choose between breaking his ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge and resigning.
The confirmation that Labour will not back an early election when MPs vote on the issue again at the start of next week came as Ms Thornberry was mocked over her party’s Brexit stance.
The Labour frontbencher said on BBC Question Time that if her party won an election it would seek to negotiate a Brexit deal with the EU but she would then campaign to Remain at a second referendum.
Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, said Labour’s approach to Brexit was ‘completely mad’.
Emily Thornberry said on Question Time last night that she would try and get a better deal with the EU but still campaign to Remain in a second referendum
Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, described Labour’s Brexit stance as ‘completely mad’ in a tweet sent this morning
Labour abstained on a vote this week on whether there should be an early election as Mr Johnson failed to secure the two thirds of support from MPs he needed.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Commons leader, said yesterday that the government will try again on Monday.
But Ms Thornberry today suggested Labour would again block the move in a bid to trap Mr Johnson and force him to delay Brexit.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while the offer of an early election was ‘extremely attractive’ the ‘immediate crisis in front of us… has to be sorted before we do anything else’.
‘Unfortunately, given the behaviour of the Prime Minister and his advisers, we need to be absolutely sure that we are not going to end up in a situation where the general election is used as a distraction while they, by some cunning wheeze, bounce us out of the European Union without a deal,’ she said.
Ms Thornberry outlined Labour’s concerns that if the party’s MPs backed an early election on October 15 that Mr Johnson could then try to change the date until after the Brexit deadline.
‘If we vote to have a general election then, no matter what it is that Boris Johnson promises, it is up to him to advise the Queen when the general election should be,’ she said.
‘Given that he has shown himself to be a manifest liar and somebody who has said that he would ‘die in a ditch’ rather than stop no-deal, and indeed his adviser (Dominic) Cummings has been swearing and shouting at MPs saying ‘They are leaving on the 31st, no matter what’, our first priority has to be that we must stop No Deal and we must make sure that is going to happen.
‘We have a Prime Minister who is so unlike any other prime minister that we have had. In the past, if you passed a law you could be pretty sure the prime minister will abide by that law.
‘But we heard from the Prime Minister’s own mouth that he will die in a ditch – obviously I hope he doesn’t, but I actually hope he would obey the law.’
Downing Street has dismissed the suggestion that Mr Johnson would change the date of the election after MPs had voted for it as nonsense.
Ms Thornberry said last night that despite her desire to stay in the EU, Labour would negotiate a new Brexit deal if it came to power.
Mr Johnson, pictured in Scotland today, appears to be doomed to another defeat on Monday after Ms Thornberry suggested Labour would block an early election
But she then said that her party would still hold a second referendum, with Remain as an option, and that she would campaign to revoke Article 50.
Her suggestion was met with derision and ridicule by other BBC Question Time panellists and audience members, who did not understand the point of negotiating a deal in order to then campaign to reject it.
Host Fiona Bruce began by asking Ms Thornberry to clarify her position if a general election was held and Labour seized control of Number 10.
She said: ‘If you were to win a general election, you would go to Europe, try and get a better deal, have a referendum where Remain is an option.
‘Would you then be campaigning against your own deal, to Remain against your own deal you negotiated? Or would you be actually saying, no support our deal?’
Emily Thornberry replied by suggesting she would campaign to Remain.
She said: ‘Personally, I will campaign to Remain.’
Ms Bruce added: ‘Even if you have negotiated a deal?’
Ms Thornberry: ‘I would negotiate a deal to the best of my ability, a deal that will look after jobs and the economy, but the best way to look after jobs and the economy is for us to Remain.’
Fellow guest and Conservative MP, Kwasi Kwarteng interjected: ‘And then you’ll campaign against it?’
LBC radio host Iain Dale mocked Ms Thornberry’s response as ‘ridiculous’.
He said: ‘Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds to everybody here? You think people are going to vote for you on that basis. Have you no shame?’
Ms Thornberry’s remarks prompted Mr Javid to label Labour’s Brexit stance ‘completely mad’.
The Chancellor tweeted: ‘Conservative position on Brexit crystal clear: leave on 31st October, Deal or No Deal.
‘Labour position completely mad. Treating the British public like fools.
‘We need a General Election to let the great British public decide.’
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