Published On: Thu, Sep 5th, 2019

Corbyn meets with Labour chiefs to possibly change election position yet AGAIN | Politics | News

The Labour leader last night refused to back Boris Johnson’s bid for a national poll despite saying on Monday he would be “delighted” if there was a snap election. Mr Corbyn is grappling with major divisions in Labour over when a ballot should be held, Politico reported.

Labour backbenchers want to avoid an election before the end of October, while Mr Corbyn’s aides are pushing for a national poll as soon as legislation to block a no-deal Brexit is passed.

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman said the Bill “needs to pass all its stages” before Labour gets behind a general election.

They said: “It needs to go through and have Royal Assent – and once we’re confident they can’t crash out and no deal is taken off the table for October 31, we will support a general election.

“We want to have a general election as soon as possible and we believe that is the best way to settle not only this issue, but all the issues facing the country.”

Despite this “clear” position on an election the shadow chancellor John McDonnell admitted Labour was split over the timing of a general election.

He said they were in contact with legal experts, other opposition parties and the Parliamentary Labour Party about what to do and “people have got different views on this”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The problem that we have got is that we cannot at the moment have any confidence in Boris Johnson abiding by any commitment or deal that we could construct.

READ MORE: Nigel Farage: Brexit Party leader reveals ‘unstoppable’ pact

“We want a general election as well but we want it in the interests of the country when we have prevented a no-deal Brexit, and on that basis we have got to determine the date.”

The legislation to thwart no deal is expected to clear the Lords tomorrow and get Royal Assent on Monday.

It comes after MPs voted last night by 327 to 299 to block a no-deal Brexit.

And the Prime Minister’s snap general election plan was rejected when it failed to secure the support of two-thirds of MPs.

A Number 10 spokesman said Mr Johnson will today “speak directly to the public, setting out the vital choice that faces our country”.

They said: “He will argue that Jeremy Corbyn’s Surrender Bill will force the Prime Minister to go to Brussels and surrender to any demands they make.

“This would in essence overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history – the 2016 referendum. The PM will not do this.

“It is clear the only action is to go back to the people and give them the opportunity to decide what they want: Boris to go to Brussels and get a deal, or leave without one on October 31 or Jeremy Corbyn arriving in Brussels with his surrender bill begging for more delay, more dither and accepting whatever terms Brussels imposes over our nation.

“For Jeremy Corbyn to continue to avoid an election would be a cowardly insult to democracy.”

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