Boris Johnson appears to threaten a general election
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Boris Johnson faced yet another bruising day in Downing Street yesterday after more than 40 MPs, including ex-Welsh Secretary Simon Hart, resigned from the Prime Minister’s Government. Following an appearance at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, Mr Johnson answered questions from the powerful liaison committee of senior backbench MPs.
Mr Johnson told MPs: “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.”
When asked by Harwich & North Essex MP Sir Bernard Jenkin if he would consider calling a snap general election, the Prime Minister said: “I see absolutely no need whatever for an election.”
But Mr Johnson added: “The last thing this country needs is an election.
“On the contrary, the risk is that people continue to focus on this type of thing and I think that is a mistake.”
He went on to “rule out” a snap poll and even claimed the earliest date for an election would be in “two years from now”.
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However, an ally to the Prime Minister suggested Mr Johnson could still call a snap general election to see off his opponents.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, the supporter said: “Boris doesn’t look like a man on ropes.
“He was indeed buoyant and upbeat at Liaison Committee.
“I think he may go for snap election [as] Bernard Jenkin was very robust on wanting to rule it out in Committee.
“People versus Politicians just like in December 2019. Polls close.
“Of course risky but he may not have a choice.”
After the Government introduced a law repealing the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, called the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act, the power to call a general election was returned to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister would need to “request” the dissolution of Parliament and the right to hold an early election from the Queen.
However, the so-called ‘Lascelles Principles’ set out how the British monarch can refuse such a request from the country’s leading parliamentarian.
Written in 1950, King George VI’s Private Secretary Sir Alan ‘Tommy’ Lascelles said the Head of State could refuse an election if the existing Parliament was vital, viable and capable of doing its job, if a general election would be detrimental to the national economy or if the sovereign could rely on finding another Prime Minister who could govern for a reasonable period of time with a working majority in the House of Commons.
Despite speculation of a snap election, a YouGov poll found 69 percent of Brits want Mr Johnson to step down, including 54 percent of 2019 Conservative voters.
The polling company also gives Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party a three-point lead over the Conservatives.
If such a gap was emulated at the ballot box, Mr Johnson would likely be booted out of Number 10 by the British people and Mr Starmer would possibly even turn to the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party to prop up a Labour administration in Number 10.
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In 2019, when Mr Johnson last called a snap election, YouGov gave the Conservatives a whopping 12-point lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party.
The Prime Minister went on to return to Downing Street with the Tory Party’s largest majority since 1987 after pledging to ‘Get Brexit Done’.
Mr Johnson now faces pressure inside his own party with his opponents hoping for a second confidence vote next week.
Andrew Bridgen, who backed Boris Johnson for the top job in 2019, told Express.co.uk: “The result of a second confidence ballot would be humiliating for Boris Johnson, his support in the parliamentary party is down below 100 out of 359 MPs.”
The Brexit-backing North West Leicestershire MP added: “He should resign and leave with a shred of decency.”
A second confidence vote could come if the 1922 election on Monday results in MPs who support changing the executive’s rulebook joining the backbench Conservative committee.
Around 18 MPs will seek election on a ticket to change the rules while allies of Mr Johnson will look to back those wanting to uphold the status quo.
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