Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold an election in the days following Brexit if lawmakers sink his government with a vote of no-confidence, the FT reported yesterday, citing unidentified senior aides to the prime minister.
The FT said his aides expect he will face a confidence vote soon after parliament returns from its summer break.
“We can’t stop them forcing an election but we control the timetable so we will force the date after October 31,” the FT quoted a senior 10 Downing Street official as saying. “If there must be a general election, then it will be days after October 31.”
Another close aide to Johnson did not deny that any election would be held in the first few days of November, the FT said.
Meanwhile Johnson urged lawmakers to support an October 31 Brexit, saying they had promised to honour the result of the country’s 2016 decision to leave the European Union.
“I think that MPs should get on and deliver on what they have promised over and over and over again to the people of this country: they will deliver on the mandate of 2016 and leave the EU on October 31,” Johnson told reporters.
Asked about the prospect of losing a confidence vote in parliament and whether he would then delay an election until after Brexit he said: “We are going to leave the European Union on October 31, which is what the people of this country voted for.”
Earlier top US and British diplomats said they were prepared to move “as soon as possible” on a trade deal after Britain’s planned withdrawal from the European Union.
Speaking in Washington, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged the EU to negotiate a new pact on Britain’s departure to avoid a potentially calamitous “no-deal” Brexit.
Raab said after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the two sides agreed on the need for quick negotiations on a two-way deal after Brexit strands Britain outside the US-EU trade pact.
“America is our single largest bilateral trading partner. President Trump has made clear again that he wants an ambitious free trade agreement with UK, so I hope that we can make that happen as soon as possible after we leave the EU,” Raab told reporters.
Standing at Raab’s side, Pompeo said Washington supports London’s “sovereign choice” in withdrawing from the European Union, whatever happens.
“However Brexit ultimately shakes out, we’ll be on the doorstep hand-in-hand, ready to sign a new free trade agreement at the earliest possible time,” Pompeo said.