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US News Will Boris Johnson’s Divide And Rule Tactics Work To Get Him A December Election?

03:40  29 october  2019
03:40  29 october  2019 Source:   huffingtonpost.co.uk

Boris Johnson publishes his Brexit Withdrawal Bill: PM unveils 110-page 'declaration of independence' (with 124 pages of explanatory notes) just hours before MPs start to debate it - as he bids to push it through Parliament in THREE DAYS

  Boris Johnson publishes his Brexit Withdrawal Bill: PM unveils 110-page 'declaration of independence' (with 124 pages of explanatory notes) just hours before MPs start to debate it - as he bids to push it through Parliament in THREE DAYS The Prime Minister wants to pass his Brexit deal through the Commons in just three days as he attempts to avoid another delay to Britain's departure from the EU by October 31.The Prime Minister hopes to speed his Brexit deal through the Commons in just three days as he attempts to avoid another delay and take Britain out of the EU by October 31.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to lawmakers during the election debate in the House of Commons, London, Monday Oct. 28, 2019. The EU agreed Monday to a three month delay in Britain's Brexit departure from the bloc, and parliament will vote on Monday if to have an early General Election. (House of Commons via AP) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to lawmakers during the election debate in the House of Commons, London, Monday Oct. 28, 2019. The EU agreed Monday to a three month delay in Britain's Brexit departure from the bloc, and parliament will vote on Monday if to have an early General Election. (House of Commons via AP)

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Voting in the dark?

After months of being imprisoned by his lack of a parliamentary majority, Boris Johnson is hoping for a jailbreak that will finally free him to deliver Brexit. And in one of the most curious quirks of this entire saga, it may be his gaolers who hand him the keys to his Commons cell.

Boris Johnson loses crucial vote on 31 October Brexit timetable - with delay likely

  Boris Johnson loses crucial vote on 31 October Brexit timetable - with delay likely Brexit plans in chaos despite passage of Withdrawal Agreement Bill on second readingThe Government lost the vote on the programme motion by 308-322.

In what looks like a classic divide-and-rule tactic, the PM seems to be using the flipside of a hung parliament - the sheer lack of numbers for an alternative Brexit plan - to exploit the deep-seated tensions between the SNP, Lib Dems and Labour and other parties.

On Tuesday, when Johnson tables his new Elections Bill to fix the date of the next election as December 12, there will be a huge temptation by opposition parties to finally bite the bullet and support a pre-Christmas polling day.

Video: 'Die in a ditch - another broken promise' (Sky News)

They’re going to try and make him sweat, no doubt. The date may well be tweaked to December 11 or 10 to look like there’s been some give-and-take on all sides. Crucially, No.10 is telling us that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill will not be brought back, a key demand of both the SNP’s Ian Blackford and Lib Dems’ Jo Swinson.

Boris Johnson in fresh push for UK general election

  Boris Johnson in fresh push for UK general election Prime minister Boris Johnson is to launch a third attempt to secure a UK general election and regain the initiative on Brexit. Mr Johnson will table a parliamentary motion seeking an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act on Thursday night, to be voted on by MPs on Monday. The move will force the Labour party to decide if it will enable the prime minister to hold an election on December 12. If the parliamentary motion is approved, the government will then propose a new timetable to get Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal on to the statute book by November 6.

Moreover, wrecking amendments to give votes to 16-year-olds, or EU citizens, look unlikely to be red lines for either party. Their bigger calculation appears to be that this is their last chance to fight an election in which a ‘Boris Brexit’ is still a hypothetical issue rather than hard fact.

What next for Brexit? Follow key developments, expert analysis and multiple perspectives as the UK edges closer to leaving the EU

The very notion of a winter election would normally be frowned upon by parties who have strong Scots roots. If you need one example for how difficult it may be, regardless of the weather, to get out the vote, consider this: in Shetland on December 12, the sun rises at 9am and sets at 3pm. And that’s in the seat of Lib Dem veteran Alistair Carmichael. People will literally be voting in the dark.

Gallery: Brexit timeline (Photo Services) 

For Labour, it was the idea of a ‘blind Brexit’ (or the risk of a ‘no-deal Brexit’) that for so long justified its opposition to an election. Yet on Monday, the threat of a no-deal was ‘taken off the table’, at least until January 31, when the EU agreed the extension to the UK’s membership.

And just as Johnson managed to get a Brexit deal with Brussels by stripping away all the obstacles, excuses and red lines stopping one (including his own), so too he wants to remove all of Labour’s red lines. The aim is to force Corbyn into a position where he finally backs an election or is seen to be dragged against his will to the polls.

Corbyn added an extra reason/excuse (delete according to your view) on Monday night, namely the disenfranchisement of students who may be at home for Christmas by the time of Johnson’s preferred date. In a rare show of solidarity with Channel 4 News, No.10 pointed to its FactCheck finding that in fact not one of the largest 40 universities will have ended their term on December 12. Is Corbyn only really worried about Oxbridge students, whose term ends super early? Surely not?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with fundraisers for the Royal British Legion and purchases a poppy in front of the Downing Street door. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets with fundraisers for the Royal British Legion and purchases a poppy in front of the Downing Street door. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)

Some Labour MPs were genuinely hoping that they could hold off polling day to the spring. That would require yet another Benn Act-style forcing of an extension on the PM, and another EU decision to agree a new deadline. A handful of Tory rebels actually favour a long extension to next summer to allow time for a second referendum, but that ship seems to have sailed.

Many in the parliamentary Labour party think Corbyn has failed to ram home Johnson’s own broken promise on his Halloween Brexit pledge. If an election does go ahead, the main story of this week will be about concrete December dates, not missed October deadlines.

In fact, Labour could end up the most divided party in this deeply divided parliament. If so, we will have gone full circle. It was 48 years ago precisely, on October 28, 1971, that the Commons voted by a majority of 112 to approve Ted Health’s British membership of the Common Market. It happened with the help of 69 Labour votes.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the election debate ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the election debate ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

More importantly, Labour MPs and some close to Jeremy Corbyn would prefer to actually fight an election with Brexit already delivered, not least so they could clearly turn the contest into one about austerity rather than the issue of Europe.

Many others in the party wanted to at least amend the Brexit bill to remove the ‘trapdoor’ threat of a no-trade-deal exit during the transition period that lasts until December 2020. The fundamental problem with all such plans is that the SNP and Lib Dems just don’t want any Brexit at all, even if it is ‘soft’ or part of a new referendum.

And the harsh reality may be that months of cross-party cooperation are just too difficult to maintain, especially when different parties know they will soon be fighting each other and not just the Tories. The brute forces of political gravity, and enmity, are hard to defy.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson during the election debate ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson during the election debate ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, London. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

Quote Of The Day

‘A toxic, tedious torture of two more referendums, one on the EU and one on Scotland.’

Boris Johnson sets out what 2020 would look like under Jeremy Corbyn.

Monday Cheat Sheet

Boris Johnson announced plans for a new Elections Bill to allow a simple majority vote to fix the date of the next election as December 12. His move came after the Commons failed to give him the two-thirds majority required an early polling day under current legislation.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove speaks in the House of Commons, London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a statement on his new Brexit deal. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove speaks in the House of Commons, London, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a statement on his new Brexit deal. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)

Michael Gove paused no-deal preparations and the controversial ‘Get Ready For Brexit’ on October 31 ad campaign. No10 announced the news after Brussels agreed to a flexible extension to January 31.

Diane Abbott let slip her frustration with the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). “What I actually said in Shadow Cabinet today, ‘in the run-up to 2017 election, some Labour MPs were crying in my office and in the tearoom as if it’s a f***ing funeral, saying Jeremy should stand down, then they all got re-elected with increased majorities’.”

Labour MP Keith Vaz is facing suspension from the Commons for six months after he was found to have ‘expressed willingness’ to purchase cocaine for others. If MPs confirm the punishment, it will trigger the opening of a recall petition in his Leicester East constituency. If Labour suspend him, he will not be the candidate at the next election.

Keith Vaz arrives at a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Wire/PA Images Keith Vaz arrives at a meeting of the Labour National Executive Committee in London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)

John Mann officially resigned as a Labour MP in order to take up a peerage and become an adviser on anti-Semitism for the Government. The move means the PM has one less vote in the Commons for his Brexit plan.

The People’s Vote campaign was plunged into more bitter infighting following an attempt to sack two senior figures, Tom Baldwin and James McGrory. 

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Exclusive: Tory Ministers Accused Of Spending Public Cash On Facebook Ads In Election Swing Seats .
Tory ministers have come under fire for spending government cash on Facebook ads targeted at voters in election swing seats. HuffPost UK has learned that ministers authorised more than 20 adverts, paid for with taxpayers’ cash, to go live on Tuesday, the same day Boris Johnson got MPs to back a snap general election.  © Facebook Examples of the ads targeted at election battlegrounds. Published on a page for a government campaign called ‘My Town’, the ads trumpet £25m of investment for each individual area.

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