’Why won’t you vote for an election?’ Minchin grills Barry Gardiner over Labour’s U-turn

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BBC BREAKFAST host Louise Minchin got her chance to grill Labour’s Barry Gardiner this morning as she insisted voters of Jeremy Corbyn’s party were being ignored as they very much want a General Election, but the opposition to the Government keeps blocking one.

Last night, Boris Johnson asked Parliament to vote on whether there would be a General Election on December 12 ahead of the Brexit extension until the new year. Although he lost it by not gaining two-thirds of the House, he will try again tonight to get a “simple majority”, which means he only needs half. 

As the Conservatives do not have a majority Government, he will have to rely on oppositional parties, who are keeping quiet on their voting intentions. 

Last night, the majority of Labour MPs abstained from the vote, along with the SNP and DUP, while all but one members of the Liberal Democrats party voted against it. 

Various MPs have been doing the rounds across breakfast TV and radio yet no one has really given a solid answer on what they will do. 

Barry Gardiner from Labour appeared on BBC Breakfast earlier today with Louise Minchin and following suit, remained undecided on his vote. 

When asked if he wants a General Election at all, the Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade said: “I don’t think it’s on top of anyone’s Christmas list.

“The public want to see politicians growing up and compromising and trying to get a credible deal that will not destroy jobs and will certainly not destroy the peace in Northern Ireland.”

He went on to discuss how Johnson had actually achieved a majority for his deal but when it came to the next stage of scrutiny, tried to rush it through, which is why the brakes have been applied. 

“This is a distraction, let’s be clear,” Gardiner continued. “Boris Johnson promised he would leave on October 31 – deal or no deal – and then when he realised he couldn’t do that, he tried to make the issue about a General Election. 

“We want a General Election, we want to expose everything this government has done – or failed to do in terms of knife crime, cuts to schools, in terms of the waiting lists in hospitals… Goodness knows we need that General Election but we do have to resolve the issue of Brexit first.”

Minchin wanted to “be clear” on what Labour will do and establish whether or not they will categorically vote for the General Election. 

Gardiner insisted Labour would be “responsible” and “look at what the bill says”, without telling the BBC Breakfast host a simple yes or no.

He went on to call out Johnson’s “games” as he believes a December 12 vote would make it “difficult” for students to vote – who make up a sizeable portion of Labour’s support – as they would be travelling around that time.

He continued: “The government have said, ‘Let’s get Brexit done’… Given that they have got their Withdrawal Agreement through to a second reading, and accepted in principle and they are now not wishing to do so.

“Why are they not getting on with it? This is a distraction. 

Minchin cut in: “Can I just – You’re clearly frustrated and I can understand that. 

“For people watching who have heard Jeremy Corbyn asking over and over again for an election, what do you say for people watching that and not understanding why you won’t vote for one?”

Gardiner explained: “Of course we want an election and that’s what I’m saying to you – we are desperate for an election because the people of this country need it. 

“Just look at what’s going on in our schools, lets look at what’s going on in our schools. Look at what’s happening to social care and the fabric of society with knife crime. 

“This is a government who have failed in doing anything positive in the last four years since this Brexit negotiation started. 

“It’s been a disaster in that all normal government has simply ceased. That’s why when they say, ‘Let’s get Brexit done’, we’re saying, ‘Yes – do it’. You’ve got the agreement in principle, we want there to be a credible, negotiated deal that we can then put back to the people so they can see what it is that Brexit would look like, have a credible option to leave and a credible option to remain.”

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