Opposition parties have agreed to reject Boris Johnson’s attempt to trigger a snap election for a second time on Monday, making it increasingly unlikely a poll will be held before 31 October.
Jeremy Corbyn held the latest of a series of discussions with fellow opposition leaders on Friday morning, at which they agreed not to allow an election to take place until after a delay to Brexit has been secured.
Downing Street has tabled a motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act for a second time asking MPs to approve an early general election. It requires the support of two-thirds of MPs to pass – impossible without the backing of opposition parties.
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts, who was involved in the talks, said: “We need to make sure that we get past 31 October, and an extension to article 50. We were in agreement that the prime minister is on the run. Boris is broken. We have an opportunity to bring down Boris, to break Boris, and to bring down Brexit – and we must take that.
“Just as [it would have] this week, a vote for a general election would play into Boris Johnson’s hands. It would allow him to ignore the legislation that is presently going through the House of Lords.”
She added: “Our intention is to be here, in this place, to hold him to account and to make sure that he abides by that law.”
The backbench-led bill mandates Johnson to seek an extension to article 50 if he has failed to secure a new Brexit deal by 19 October. It is expected to receive royal assent on Friday.
Corbyn told MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday that he would be ready to support Johnson’s call for a general election once the legislation had passed, saying: “Let this bill pass and gain royal assent, and then we will back an election so we do not crash out of the European Union with a no-deal exit.”
But he faced a backlash from Labour MPs anxious about Johnson engineering a no-deal Brexit. Their concerns were intensified by the prime minister’s insistence on Thursday that he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than request a delay to Brexit.
Asked about Johnson’s comments, Saville Roberts said: “Being prime minister was one of the ticks on Boris Johnson’s megalomaniac bucket list. If he wanted to be PM, he takes the responsibilities that comes with it.”
Labour has not ruled out tabling a vote of no confidence in Johnson’s government, but with parliament due to be prorogued by next Thursday at the latest, time is running out to do so in time for an October election.
If Johnson lost a vote of no confidence, opposition parties would have 14 sitting days to assemble an alternative majority. If they failed to do so, an election would be triggered 25 days later.
A Labour spokesperson 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.”