Tuesday 29 October 2019 8:29 pm

Fourth time lucky as MPs back Boris Johnson for December election

MPs have finally agreed to back Prime Minister Boris Johnson and go to the polls, voting in favour of a snap election this December.

Today marked Johnson’s fourth attempt at persuading parliament to agree an election, with previous efforts failing for lack of certainty around the date.

MPs voted 438 to 20 in favour of an election on 12 December. This will be the first winter election since 1923.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “This election is a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country and take on the vested interests holding people back… We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change that our country has ever seen.

“This is our chance to build a country for the many not the few and fit for the next generation.” 

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson MP said: “This General Election will decide the future of our country for generations. It is our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit.”

Shortly before this vote, MPs had already indicated they were going to support the government, rejecting a Labour amendment to shift the date of the election forward to 9 December.

The amendment was selected by deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle, rather than his senior John Bercow. He did not select more controversial amendments that sought to extend the vote to EU citizens or 16 and 17 year olds, which would have effectively killed the bill.

The government has insisted an election had to be held on 12 December to allow enough time for this bill, and another bill relating to funding for Northern Ireland to pass through both houses.

The amendment was defeated by 315 votes to 295.

Earlier this evening Downing Street restored the whip to 10 of the 21 rebel ex-Tories, including Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond and Winston Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames.

However persistent troublemakers including former chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke remain independent MPs. Dominic Grieve and Oliver Letwin, who have both been instrumental in blocking the government in parliament, similarly remain on the benches.

Main image: Getty