As the EU debates whether to grant the UK an extension on its deadline to leave the bloc, British MPs will discuss whether to authorise a snap election in December.
As another deadline to leave the EU approaches, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tabled a motion to hold an early election in December.
The move is the latest gambit in his attempts to break the ongoing deadlock within the UK over how the country should leave the union.
Technically as things stand the UK will crash out of the bloc on October 31 without a deal in place, a possibility that would result in disruption to trade and continental cooperation.
That is unless, the EU agrees to grant the UK a Brexit extension, which it is widely expected to do.
The British prime minister enjoyed a surge in popularity among Brexit supporters in the early days of his rule because of his uncompromising stance on leaving the EU, with or without a deal, before the October deadline. That’s a promise he appears no longer capable of keeping.
British PM Boris Johnson holds his Brexit deal on pause and threatens snap elections after losing a major vote in parliament pic.twitter.com/mlgnwYlsXL— TRT World (@trtworld) October 22, 2019
MPs have thus far rejected Johnson’s renegotiated deal with the EU, which was marginally different from the one his predecessor, Theresa May, had negotiated.
While ostensibly the prime minister is not opposed to leaving without a deal, a so-called Hard Brexit, lawmakers have also repeatedly passed motions requiring him to ask for extensions from the EU if a deal is not approved by parliament.
Consequently, the only apparent way for Johnson to guarantee his deal gets parliamentary approval is to get a strong enough majority by way of a new election. The Conservative leader currently presides over a minority government after a series of defections from the party over his Brexit policy.
But even that is not an easy way out for Johnson as the British parliament serves for a fixed term, currently set for 2022, and can only be dissolved before then by a two-thirds majority vote by MPs.
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, as well as leaders of other opposition parties have refused to back such an attempt unless Johnson agrees to take a no-deal Brexit off the table.
The Catch 22 for Johnson is that his support is that should he agree, his support among supporters of a hard Brexit would plummet.
MPs are nevertheless expected to vote on Johnson’s proposal on Friday.