‘I can’t wait’: Corbyn says Labour ready for December vote

Labour has thrown its weight behind an early general election, significantly boosting the chances of voters going to the polls before Christmas.

Leader Jeremy Corbyn dropped his opposition to a snap election after the EU granted a Brexit delay until 31 January 2020 to avoid a no-deal divorce.

MPs will vote this evening on the proposal for a snap poll, which would be the first December general election for almost a century.

There has not been a December general election in the UK for almost a century
Image: If confirmed, this would be the first December election in nearly a century

But there is disagreement between the political parties over what date it should be on.

Boris Johnson has pushed for Thursday 12 December, but the Lib Dems prefer 9 December in order to dissolve parliament earlier and remove any chance of the prime minister’s Brexit bill being fast-tracked through parliament.

Mr Corbyn has not revealed what date he would support, only saying there will be a “parliamentary process” to argue over the timing later today.

“We are going out there to fight an election campaign and I can’t wait to get out there on the streets,” he said after a meeting of Labour’s shadow cabinet.

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But several Labour MPs have already declared they will defy orders and vote against a snap election.

One, Barry Sheerman, called the decision “sheer madness” and said he had heard frontbenchers and whips were “resigning” over the issue.

Brexit debate. Pic: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
Image: Gavin Williamson called the Commons ‘rotten’. Pic: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said a new set of MPs was needed to replace the “rotten” and “broken” current parliament that is “standing in the way of the British people”.

“It is welcome to see that Labour are moving in a general election, but let them vote for a general election, not just talk about it,” he added.

MPs have three times rejected Mr Johnson’s bid for a snap election, which he needed two-thirds of their support for.

But tonight’s vote will only require a simple majority to pass – just over half.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson waits to welcome NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to 10 Downing Street on October 15, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Image: Boris Johnson has already called three times for a snap poll

However parliament’s rare unified stance could all be thrown off course if MPs try to table amendments to the election bill, such as extending the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds.

If that wins enough support, the government could threaten to pull the whole thing.

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