What just happened? Some probabilities have shifted but nothing is yet decided. A vote has been won to enable remainer MPs to introduce their European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill 2019 which, among other things, may force the Prime Minister to ask the European Council for an extension of a length determined by the European Council.
Boris Johnson has initiated a procedure to enable a debate and a vote on whether or not to have a general election. He has threatened, should an election take place, to deselect Tory MPs who opposed him in the previous vote.
Much remains to be seen.
- Will the remainers’ bill pass the first vote?
- Will it be delayed by arcane procedures?
- Should it pass, will it be put in front of the Queen for royal assent? Boris has said only that he will obey the law and the constitution. The constitution seems to allow him to prevent it becoming law.
- A general election may delay it.
- A general election may or may not be possible. Jeremy Corbyn says he does not want an election (until no-deal-Brexit is removed as a possibility).
- Nobody is quite sure whether the election would be before or after the 31st October.
- Should a general election take place, Boris might deselect Tory MPs who have opposed him thus far. Update: Confirmed that Boris has withdrawn the whip (they are expelled from the party and are now independent) from 21 MPs who voted against him.
- Unless leavers are completely satisfied, the outcome of any election is very uncertain, and includes the possibility of a Corbyn government.