“I don’t think I have, I have never known a time in modern history when the Leader of the Opposition has refused to take part in a general election … “; PM Johnson///CRIMSON TAZVINZWA
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for not abiding by what he says is his “constitutional duty” after “refusing” to take part in a general election.
Mr Johnson’s attack comes after his call for a general election was defeated in the Commons.
In an exclusive interview with ITV’s Peston programme, following 24 hours which saw his government defeated successive times, Mr Johnson said: “I’m afraid what we’ve heard from the Leader of the Opposition today is not only does he want to cancel the referendum.
“Not only does he want to extend the UK’s membership of the EU, at the behest of the EU, giving that power to keep us in potentially for years and years at their own discretion.”
He continued: “But also he now refuses, contrary to what I think is the constitutional duty of a Leader of the the Opposition, he refuses to take part in a general election.
“I don’t think I have, I have never known a time in modern history when the Leader of the Opposition has refused to take part in a general election.
“I can only invite our viewers, Robert, to speculate why he may be so disinclined – does somebody need to get out the chicken suit?”
The Prime Minister had called for a poll to be held on October 15 after legislation designed to prevent the UK leaving the EU with no deal on October 31 cleared the Commons.
But Labour and other opposition MPs refused to back the bid – which needed a two-thirds majority in the Commons – while the risk of a no-deal remained.
The Government failed to secure the support of two-thirds of MPs, with the Commons voting 298 to 55. That falls 136 short of the number needed under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act for a vote to be considered.
It’s his third defeat in 24 hours; by comparison Tony Blair lost four times in a decade of leadership, Margaret Thatcher lost same number of times in eleven years of holding office.