What is a snap election and will there be one in 2019?

What is a snap election and will there be one in 2019?

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BORIS Johnson now wants a General Election after MPs votes to block a No Deal Brexit this week.

The Prime Minister is confident that he can win the vote, sending the country back to the polls for fourth time in just five years. Here’s all you need to know about a snap election.

Boris Johnson is the favourite to win the PM contest
Boris has insisted he WON’T delay Brexit again
AFP or licensors

What is a snap election?

Britain’s next national election is not due to be held until 2022.

A snap election is one that is called earlier than expected – or when not required.

The “snap” element is often used as a tactic to exploit the opposition’s weakness, or for a party to boost their majority in parliament.

The then Prime Minister Theresa May called a shock snap election in 2017.

But her gamble to try to strengthen the Tories’ hold on Parliament backfired when her majority was slashed by 13 seats.

It put the Conservatives below the 326 seats needed to form a government — leading her to get the support of Northern Ireland’s DUP in a £1billion supply-and-demand deal to keep them in power.

Previously elections could be called simply by the Prime Minister going to the Queen at any point within five years of the last one.

But after the Fixed Term Parliament Act was passed in 2011 the five-year gap was enshrined in law.

Theresa May speaks during PMQs, days before her vote was rejected for a third time in March 2019
Theresa May speaks during PMQs, days before her vote was rejected for a third time in March 2019
PA:Press Association

What would cause a snap election?

Boris Johnson said any move to block a No Deal Brexit would weaken his hand in attempting to negotiate an agreement with Brussels.

If MPs backed a bill that would force him to seek an extension to our leaving date if there was no deal, then he would seek a general election.

After they did just that, the Prime Minister followed suit with a motion seeking the two-thirds majority needed to go to the polls on October 15.

But the vote was lost after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to abstain in the knowledge this would prevent Boris getting the two thirds majority he needed.


Mr Corbyn said wanted the rebel bill to stop a No Deal Brexit to become law first.

That prompted a furious Mr Johnson brand Corbyn “chicken” saying he was “the first leader of the opposition in the democratic history of our country to refuse the invitation of an election”.

Labour’s mass abstention last night came despite Mr Corbyn and other senior figures in his party having called for a general election as soon as possible more than 15 times so far — in this year alone.


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