Brexit: Boris Johnson could push for a general election if EU supports a longer delay

Last updated at 11:47
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Boris Johnson's Brexit timetable was rejected by the House of Commons 322 votes to 308

Boris Johnson has said he'll push for a general election if the European Union (EU) supports a Brexit delay until January.

The prime minister "paused" his Brexit bill on Tuesday after MPs rejected his plan to get it signed off in three days.

MPs voted in favour of Boris Johnson's 110-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which lays out important terms around how the UK will leave the EU.

There were 329 votes in support of the bill and 299 against. This was the first time MPs in the House of Commons have approved a Brexit plan.

However, MPs voted against the prime minister's plans to get the bill through the House of Commons within a three-day period, putting a pause on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal.

Many MPs felt they needed to spend more time discussing such an important law.

They rejected the prime minister's three-day timetable 322 votes to 308.

So what happens next?

Now, EU leaders will decide whether to allow a delay to Brexit, which is currently scheduled to take place on Halloween, and how long the delay should be.

On Saturday, Boris Johnson wrote a letter to the EU formally requesting a delay to Brexit until the 31 January.

The prime minister was required to send the letter under a law which aims to prevent a no-deal. However, Mr Johnson didn't sign the bill himself as he isn't in support of the delay.

He has now told MPs he will push for a general election if the EU confirmed a delay to the scheduled 31 October exit.

"On Saturday, Parliament asked for a delay until January and today Parliament blew its last chance," a Downing Street source said.

"If Parliament's delay is agreed by Brussels, then the only way the country can move on is with an election. This Parliament is broken."

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Why does the prime minister want a general election?

The next election isn't meant to happen until 2022, but Boris Johnson wants to hold one earlier to try and bring back the Conservative Party's ruling majority in the Commons. This would give the party more power.

Calling for an early election would be risky for the prime minister, but he hopes it will remove the current deadlock in the House of Commons, making it easier to deliver Brexit.

When could a general election happen?

If a general election is triggered this week, the earliest it could take place would be Thursday 28 November.

The law requires 25 days between an election being called in Parliament and polling day.

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