Friday, 21 Jun 2024

Boris Johnson on the brink of snap election despite warnings of Queen blocking plan

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The UK’s next general election is scheduled for Thursday May 2 2024 – but a snap election could mean voters being asked to go to the polls sooner. A snap vote is often held when the Government needs to resolve a specific issue and is confident it will increase its majority without weeks of the usual campaigning.

Mr Johnson said he might try to force through a quickfire vote to get re-elected by the public, after his Cabinet and mutinous MPs launched a bid to boot him out of Number 10.

There has been Tory anger over Number 10’s initial defence that Mr Johnson did not know about the claims before promoting Mr Pincher, which later turned out to be false.

During an appearance before the House of Commons liaison committee on Wednesday, he was repeatedly grilled over whether he was considering going to the country in a final bid to save his premiership.

Under heavy questioning, Mr Johnson gave contradictory answers – saying he would “of course rule out” a snap poll, but also saying that one may be necessary to fulfil his mandate.

He said to one MP: “History teaches us that the best way to have a period of stability and Government and not to have early elections is to allow people with mandates to get on.”

Pressed on what he meant by those remarks, he replied that a quickfire vote would not be necessary “unless people ignore that very good principle”.

He went on to say that Governments with “a substantial mandate from the electorate” should be left to get on with delivering, adding that it was “sensible not to get bogged down in electoral politics”.

Later on, when urged by Bernard Jenkin, the veteran Tory MP, to resign and rule out a snap election, he said such a contest was “the last thing this country needs”.

But he also insisted: “I’m not going to step down,” and warned that: “The risk is people continue to focus on this type of thing and that is a mistake.”

Mr Johnson was asked if he needed the Queen’s permission to call a vote.

He replied that the public don’t want “politicians to be engaged in electioneering now or in the future”.

The Prime Minister would require the monarch’s signature to dissolve Parliament and she has the power to refuse such a request if it breaches certain constitutional conventions.

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Changes to rules that would allow another confidence vote in his leadership could be rushed through and he would likely be hit with further resignations.

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