LIBERAL DEMOCRAT leader Jo Swindon was questioned by Sky News political correspondent Kate McCann on whether she would “accept” December 10 or December 11 as a general election date.
Boris Johnson has tonight been denied a general election, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and his MPs abstained from voting on the motion. The Liberal Democrats and SNP have proposed an earlier election date of the December 9 instead of Boris Johnson’s preferred December 12 date, which would block him from bringing back his Brexit bill. The bill would trigger an election on December 9 but ministers have rejected the proposal as a “gimmick”.
But Downing Street now appears to be warming to the idea of its own legislation.
The bill would only require Mr Johnson to secure a simple majority in the House of Commons – and not the two-thirds support he needed under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act on Monday.
Following the Prime Minister’s Commons defeat, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was quizzed on whether she would accept a general election on December 10 or December 11.
Sky News political correspondent Kate McCann asked: “So I understand that there were discussions going on this afternoon about the date, and there was wrangling on the timetable.
“You clearly want the 9th, the Government wants the 12th. What would you accept, the 10th, 11th perhaps?”
Ms Swinson replied: “Well look I want to stop Brexit, that is what is guiding everything that I do.
“Of course the best way I wanted to do that was through a People’s Vote, but in the absence of the numbers to deliver that and deliver the legislation for that, then a general election may be the ay of giving the public the say and to have the choice to stop Brexit.
“But of course that doesn’t work if a Brexit Bill has been passed in the meantime. So it’s about removing that threat that is absolutely essential.”
Ms McCann interjected: “So name the date. Would it be the 10th, would the 11th be acceptable to you?”
The Liberal Democrat leader commented: “We’ll look at the details of what’s been published and we’ll look at the timetables, but as I say the plan that we set out very clearly made that impossible for the Government to force through their Brexit deal.
“And that is what is essential, because we are about making sure we can remain in the EU and stopping Brexit. And the only reason we think a general election may be the way forward to break the impasse is because to could be an opportunity for us to make sure we can stop Brexit.”
Number 10 has indicated it could back the opposition parties’ proposal without seeking support from the Labour Party.
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan, dismissed the offer in an interview this morning as a “stunt”, and said it would not change the Government’s decision to lay a motion on Monday asking MPs for a chance to go to the public on December 12.
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly echoed Mrs Morgan’s sentiments, calling the Lib Dem-SNP offer a “gimmick”.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has attacked the Prime Minister for “stealing” the Lib Dem and SNP idea of bringing forward an election Bill for his “own purposes”.
He tweeted: “Stunt by the Lib Dems & SNP this morning looks like it’s come a cropper with Johnson stealing idea for own purposes.
“The Lib Dems & SNP may have given up on a People’s Vote. We haven’t. It’s the only way to resolve this issue and stand any chance of bringing country back together.”