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23 Oct, 2019 12:31

BoJo eager for general election to secure Brexit, but how can he get one?

BoJo eager for general election to secure Brexit, but how can he get one?

Brits will soon be heading to the voting booths in a snap poll if UK PM Boris Johnson gets his way, after being thwarted by MPs on his fast-track timetable to deliver Brexit. RT takes a look at how an election can be triggered.

All eyes are on Brussels following the damaging defeat for Johnson in the House of Commons on Tuesday night. President of the European Council Donald Tusk tweeted soon after that he would recommend to the 27 EU leaders that they should accept the UK’s extension request to delay Brexit.

Also on rt.com Tusk to recommend ANOTHER 3-month Brexit extension to EU

If the bloc officially grants the request, the UK prime minister has intimated that he would have no other choice but to call an election. Unfortunately for him, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act it’s not as easy as clicking your fingers and getting what you want.

So what are the ways Johnson could trigger a snap poll?

A vote under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act (two-thirds majority)

Under this act an election can only take place on the first Thursday in May every five years. However, Johnson could call a vote on this act - the third time he would have done so as PM, having failed twice previously to get MPs’ backing.

Johnson would require two-thirds of UK lawmakers to back him. If successful, he would then recommend a date for an election to the Queen for her approval.

Also on rt.com Losing Scotland from UK a fair price to pay for Brexit, THREE QUARTERS of English Tory ‘Leave’ voters say – poll

Bypass Fixed-term Parliaments Act and introduce a one line bill (simple majority)

The government could avoid needing such a big majority, by introducing a short law calling for an election and add: “notwithstanding the Fixed-term Parliaments Act."

A simple majority in the House of Commons would be required to pass the vote.

The downside to taking this path for Johnson would mean lawmakers could add amendments, such as granting votes to 16 year-olds. Such an amendment could pass and be damaging for the Tory Party, as the majority of younger people tend not to vote Conservative.

Labour calls a motion of no-confidence in government (simple majority)

A no-confidence vote in the government could be tabled by Labour, which would require a simple majority of MPs to succeed. If the opposition won such a vote, they would be given 14 days to form an alternative government and then get the backing of MPs.

If this happened Johnson would be expected to resign and a new caretaker PM would take over and, most likely, call an election.

In the event no alternative administration could be formed within the 14 days, an election would be triggered.

Also on rt.com BoJo’s Brexit bill in limbo again as MPs vote down fast-track timetable

Government calls a motion of no confidence in itself (simple majority)

It may sound ridiculous to many, but there is a scenario where the government tables a motion of no-confidence in themselves and order their own Tory MPs to vote for it. If opposition parties failed to form an alternative government after 14 days then an election would be triggered.

Once an election is finally called, it can only take place after 25 working days. So we could be in store for a winter election later this year. It will be interesting to see whether Brexit will dominate an election campaign or will other issues come to the fore.

Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn met on Wednesday morning in a bid to agree a timetable for moving forward with the Brexit bill, but failed to do so.

Also on rt.com UK House Speaker Bercow blocks ‘meaningful vote’ on BoJo’s Brexit deal

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