Speed Reads

Brexit or Bust

Boris Johnson makes veiled snap election threat to head off Brexit delay

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned rebel MPs on Monday that "I don't want an election and you don't want one either" as rumors mounted that he could potentially call a snap general election vote as soon as Wednesday to head off a legislative move intended to delay Brexit, expected tomorrow.

Earlier Monday, Hilary Benn, the Labour chair of the Commons Brexit committee, released the text of a bill supported by anti-no deal Brexit Tory rebels and opposition MPs, which would prevent the looming no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31. "The Bill gives the Government time either to reach a new agreement with the European Union at the European Council meeting next month, or to seek Parliament's specific consent to leave the EU without a deal," Benn explained.

While Johnson did not make his threat explicit, The Guardian reports that he implied if Benn's bill were passed, "he would default to an election." The Tory rebels have been warned that if they support Benn's legislation, they will be expelled from the party and additionally blocked from standing as Conservatives in future elections. A government spokesman explained to the BBC that "it was treating this week's Brexit votes as an issue of confidence — those traditionally trigger a general election if the government loses."

The next general election is otherwise not scheduled until 2022. The pound slumped Monday in the midst of the tumultuous rumors, with IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp telling The Guardian, "Anyone who thinks that an election will solve the U.K.'s political crisis has not been paying attention over the past three years."