PM BoJo Slams Tory Rebels for Anti-Brexit Plotting, Rejects Early Election

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a statement outside 10 Downing Street in central London on September 2, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said the chances of a Brexit deal with Brussels were "rising" but ruled out any delay to the October 31 deadline for Britain …
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused Parliament rebels plotting to vote against the government and Brexit on Tuesday of working to cut the legs out from beneath the national interest, and told the nation he did not want to see a general election.

The address was made at the Prime Ministerial podium Monday evening and followed an emergency Cabinet meeting, fuelling speculation that a snap election may have been on the cards. Despite bookmakers slashing the odds on an election over the course of Monday, Boris Johnson insisted he didn’t want a vote, making clear he realised the country as a whole doesn’t want another election either.

Parliament is expected to vote against the government tomorrow, a move which could severely delay the Brexit process. Boris appealed to MPs to vote with the government so it could deliver the will of the British people as expressed in the 2016 referendum, where the nation voted by a margin of over one million votes to leave the European Union.

Despite Johnson’s words on a general election, one may yet come — if Parliament votes against the government in a vote of no confidence, calling a snap election may be Johnson’s only hope of survival. By getting ahead of the pack by insisting it is a course of action he wishes to avoid, Johnson leaves himself free to portray a likely unpopular election as one brought by anti-Brexit MPs acting against the wishes of the people, a narrative that could benefit him.

The Prime Minister also gave a boost to Brexit, making clear that while he still wanted to negotiate a deal with Brussels — a course of action criticised by top brexiteers including Nigel Farage and others — he was determined to make Brexit happen by the end of October, no matter what. Importantly, he said the government “would not accept” and attempts to derail that, and that “there are no circumstances” under which he would ask the European Union to delay Brexit day again, as former PM Theresa May did twice earlier this year.

After speaking of the Government’s domestic agenda which is due to be made formal after the Queen’s speech in October, Boris Johnson told the nation from the Downing Street lectern:

As we come to that Brexit deadline, I am encouraged by the progress we are making. In the last few weeks, the chances of a deal have been rising, I believe for three reasons. They can see we want a deal. They can see we have a clear vision for our future relationship with the EU, something that has not always perhaps been the case. And they can see that we are utterly determined to strengthen our position by getting ready to come out regardless, come what may.

But if there is one thing that can hold us back in these talks, it is the sense in Brussels that MPs may find some way to cancel the referendum. Or that tomorrow, MPs will vote with Jeremy Corbyn for yet another pointless delay. I don’t think they will, I hope that they won’t. But if they do, they will plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position, and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible.

And so I say to show our friends in Brussels that we are united in our purpose, MPs should vote with the government against Corbyn’s pointless delay. I want everybody to know there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on the 31st of October, no ifs or buts. We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.

Armed and fortified with that conviction, I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October. A deal that Parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise, and in the meantime lets let our negotiators get on with their work, without that sword of Damocles over their necks, and without an election.

I don’t want an election, you don’t want an election, let’s get on with the people’s agenda — fighting crime, improving the NHS, boosing schools, cutting the cost of living, unlocking talent and opportunity across the whole United Kingdom with infrastructure, education, and technology. It is a massive agenda. Let’s come together and get it done, and let’s get Brexit done by October the 31st.

Monday’s emergency cabinet meeting came in tandem with a drinks party for all Conservative MPs at Downing Street, a party which appeared to be still ongoing as the Prime Minister walked out onto Downing Street to speak to the press. The party appeared to come as part of a campaign to get party colleagues onboard as the carrot, while the stick element revealed Sunday was the threat of deselection for MPs who voted against the government on Brexit.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.