Boris Johnson Threatens Mutinous MPs With Snap Election
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out ever asking the European Union to delay Britain's departure from the bloc.
He give an implicit warning to MPs that he would be forced to call an election if they tied his hands on Brexit.
Johnson's promise to take the country out of the European Union on October 31 with or without a divorce deal has propelled the United Kingdom towards a constitutional crisis and a battle with the 27 other members of the bloc.
With the UK less than 60 days away from a possible no-deal exit, an alliance of opposition MPs are plotting with rebels in Johnson's party to block a no-deal exit and force him to delay Brexit for three months.
In a thinly-veiled warning to MPs, Johnson said he would never delay Brexit which was postponed twice by his predecessor Theresa May.
"I want everybody to know there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay: we are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts," Johnson said in a hastily organised statement at a lectern outside Number 10 Downing Street.
"We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises," Johnson said on Monday. "I don't want an election. You don't want an election. Let's get on with the people's agenda."
Johnson, the face of the Vote Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum, added that if MPs voted to delay Brexit they would "plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible".
The intervention by Johnson is part of the political chess game over Brexit ahead of parliament's return from its summer break on Tuesday.
In essence, Johnson is warning parliament he will go for an election as early as October 14 if they defy him.
Rebels and opponents of the government say Johnson is betting on an election that he will cast as being forced on him by opponents of Brexit in parliament.
MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit will seek on Tuesday to take control of parliamentary time on Wednesday to pass legislation that would force Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit. If they defeat the government, Johnson will then seek an election.
More than three years since the UK voted 52-48 per cent to leave the European Union, it is still unclear on what terms, or indeed whether, Brexit will take place.
After Johnson's enforcers warned rebels they would be kicked out of the party if they defied him, speculation mounted that he would call for an election just days before an EU summit due on October 17-18.
Under British law, two-thirds of MPs must support holding an early election, and Johnson is not certain to get that backing.
An election would open up three main options: a Brexit-supporting government under Johnson, a Labour government led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn or a hung parliament that could lead to a coalition or minority government of some kind.