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Opposition parties reject PM election move

UK opposition parties have agreed not to back Boris Johnson’s demand for a general election before the European Union (EU) summit in mid-October.

Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP and Plaid Cymru say they will vote against the government or abstain in Monday’s vote on whether to hold a snap poll.

But the Prime Minister (PM) said the parties were making an “extraordinary political mistake”.

Meanwhile, a bill designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit has been approved by the House of Lords and will pass into law.

It will force the prime minister to ask the EU for the Brexit deadline to be extended beyond October 31 if no deal is agreed by the UK and Brussels by October 19.

Mr Johnson wants an election to take place on October 15, ahead of that date and the EU summit on October 17 and 18.

He argues that a snap poll will allow the government to “get on” with delivering Brexit by the end of October.

But opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) – who, along with Conservative rebels, have already defeated one attempt by the government to bring in an early election – say Mr Johnson is trying to push through a no-deal exit.

During the past week, the prime minister has suffered several defeats over Brexit in Parliament, expelled 21 of his own MPs for rebelling and seen his younger brother, Jo Johnson, resign from government.

Following the meeting of opposition parties on Friday, a Labour Party spokesman said: “Jeremy Corbyn hosted a positive conference call with other opposition party leaders this morning.

“They discussed advancing efforts to prevent a damaging no-deal Brexit and hold a general election once that is secured.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said he was “desperate for an election”, but it could not happen until an extension to Article 50 – the process by which the UK is leaving the EU – had been secured.

“It’s not just about our own party interests; it’s about our collective national interests,” he said.

“So we are prepared to work with others to make sure we get the timing right.”

He said they wanted to make sure the UK did not “crash out” in a no-deal Brexit.

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, said there was an “opportunity to bring down Boris” and “we should take that”. -BBC

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