‘Big Girl’s Blouse’ Corbyn Called for Election Hundreds of Times Before Chickening Out

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen leaving Parliament on September 4, 2019 in London, England. Boris Johnson's motion for an early general election failed to achieve the required number of votes. The PM had tabled the motion in response to MPs voting to back …
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British Prime Minister mocked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to support a general election, taunting the hard-left figure for being the first opposition leader in British history to vote in favour of the government not being dissolved.

Backbench Conservatives shouted that Mr Corbyn was a “frit” Wednesday evening, after a government motion to call an early general election failed to pass by the required two-thirds majority.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has called for a general election almost daily for two years, but quickly changed his tune when the government actually proposed having one, saying instead that now was not the right time.

After a brief debate, members of parliament voted 298-56 in favour of calling a general election, but due to a special 2011 law, 434 MPs would have needed to vote in favour of the motion. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act which introduced the requirement has been severely criticised for its removing flexibility from the political process, and the Conservative party vowed to abolish it in their 2017 manifesto.

Responding to a leader of the opposition declining the opportunity to defeat the government in a general election, as it had done repeatedly, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “48 hours ago he was leading the chants of ‘stop the coup, let the people vote. Now he is saying ‘stop the election and stop the people from voting’!

“I think he has become the first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation to an election. I can only speculate as to the reasons behind his hesitation. The obvious conclusion I’m afraid is he does not think he will win.”

Mr Johnson urged Labour to “reflect” on this position in the coming days, and said “thius is the first time in history the opposition has voted to show confidence in Her Majesty’s government”, a remark which elicited laughter from the floor.

Where this now leaves Brexit and the government is unclear. Boris Johnson’s government appears to be unable to pass laws and therefore govern, which under the old constitutional system would see a general election collapse. But under the 2011 fixed-term act, that is now a decision in the hands of opposition MPs, who have declined, leaving the country in constitutional and political limbo.

Read more: Members of Parliament don’t want to vote for a general election because they’re afraid of facing the electorate

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