Via – Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Britons will be heading out to vote in the dark days of December after the House of Commons on Tuesday backed an early national vote that could break the country’s political impasse over Brexit — or turn out to be merely a temporary distraction.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes electing a new crop of lawmakers will give his Conservative Party a majority and break the stalemate that blocked his plan to take Britain out of the European Union this month. This week the EU granted Britain a three-month Brexit extension until Jan. 31.
But after three years of inconclusive political wrangling over Brexit, British voters are weary and the results of an election are hard to predict.
The House of Commons voted 438-20 — with dozens of lawmakers abstaining — for a bill authorizing an election on Dec. 12. It will become law once it is approved Wednesday by the unelected House of Lords, which does not have the power to overrule the elected Commons.
Even before the result was announced, the political parties were in campaign mode.
Johnson — who has had to abandon his vow to lead Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 “do or die” — accused his opponents of seeking to frustrate voters’ decision to leave the EU and prolong the Brexit process “until the 12th of never.”
“There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism, this endless, willful, fingers crossed, ‘not me guv’ refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people — and that is to refresh this Parliament and give the people a choice,” Johnson said.
The road to polling day opened up when the main opposition Labour Party, which had opposed three previous attempts by Johnson to trigger an election, changed its position.
Now that Brexit has been delayed, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would vote in favor of an early election because the prospect that Britain could crash out of the EU without a divorce deal had been taken off the table.
Brexit will form the unavoidable backdrop to the election, but the left-of-center Labour Party is calculating that voters will want to talk about issues such as health care, education and social welfare — all of which saw years of funding cuts by Conservative governments — more than about Brexit. The party’s position on the EU is convoluted, with a split between those who want to go through with Brexit and those who want a new referendum on whether to remain in the bloc.
Read More HERE