Boris bottles it over general election
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was widely tipped to call for a snap general election, however he fell short of any concrete announcement in his speech.
Westminster insiders say the PM may still call a snap election for October 14 if he is defeated in a House of Commons vote tomorrow which will mandate the government to ask for a further delay to Brexit.
Speaking from Downing Street as protestors shouted "Stop the Coup", Johnson said he was "encouraged" by the progress made on a possible deal with the EU but added that one thing holding him back was a view in Brussels that MPs could find a way to cancel Brexit.
"I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts," he said.
The bill to be debated tomorrow in the House of Commons, drafted by a cross party group of MPs including Labour's Hilary Benn, would require the government to ask for an extension to Article 50 until 30 January 2020.
The bill would mean the UK could not leave the EU without a deal unless parliament consented.
Some Labour MPs had been hesitant to support a general election without such a "legislative lock" on the extension of Article 50, including Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney.
Johnson's speech was widely criticised for following the "everything's fine" formula the country seen from Theresa May.
The BBC's Laura Kuenssberg said the PM would call an election if he was defeated this week.
TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said it was a "damp squib".
"Parliament must act tomorrow to stop a No Deal Brexit. Johnson and Cummings thought that they were being smart when they decided to shut Parliament down for five weeks.
“However, they have become unstuck and are running scared of opposition from their own MPs and across the House. What we saw was a damp squib by a gutless Johnson who is now staring defeat in the face.
“There was none of his usual bravado - this anti-democratic Prime Minister looked nervous and so he should be as he will soon become the shortest-lived occupant of Number 10 in Britain's history.
“Frankly, the angry crowd outside Downing Street chanting ‘Stop The Coup’ and ‘Tories Out’ made much more sense and are doing a much better job than Johnson.
“Only the Labour Party offer the chance to unite the country with a final say on Brexit while putting an end to the brutality of needless Tory austerity.
“Indeed only Labour will deliver the transformative For the Many government our country is crying out for which will ensure no one is left behind."
Photo: Anno Mikor (EU2017EE)