SNP could vote for snap poll - GulfToday

SNP could vote for snap poll


Nicola Sturgeon holds an electric vehicle charging socket in Cumbernauld, near Glasgow. File/ Agence France-Presse

Nicola Sturgeon has backed a general election “before Christmas”, suggesting the SNP will vote for it if Boris Johnson tries to take the plunge.

The Scottish first minister said the UK should go to the polls as soon as an extension to Article 50 is “nailed down” – piling pressure on Labour to do the same.

In the Commons, Boris Johnson welcomed the shift, pointing to Jeremy Corbyn and saying: “What an exciting development – perhaps he can pass some of his courage down the line!”

Sturgeon staged a press conference in Westminster with Mark Drakeford, her Labour counterpart in Wales, to underline their opposition to the prime minister’s “hard Brexit“ deal.

Both urged the EU to offer the UK “a longer extension”, beyond 31 January next year, to enable voters to settle the Brexit crisis at an election or through a Final Say referendum.

But Sturgeon went further, saying: “If there is an extension nailed down, then I think the position I will take then is that the right next move is to put this issue back to the electorate.”

For “practical reasons” – namely the lack of a Commons majority to deliver a second public vote – an election was more likely to come first, she argued.

And she added: “I would be very happy to see that general election before Christmas.”

Johnson would need a two-thirds majority in the Commons to overturn the fixed term parliaments act, which he failed to get when he tried to call an election last month.

In contrast, Drakeford was more cautious, while insisting Labour in Wales was “desperate to get rid of this rotten government”.

“If you think that means surrendering the whole issue over into the hands of Boris Johnson, then that is absolutely not the position we will take,” he said.

There is a fierce fight at the top of Labour over whether to make Mr Johnson wait until next year for an election, not least because of the party’s disastrous poll ratings.

In contrast, the SNP is thought to favour an early election partly because it fears the blowback from the trial, next year, of former first minister Alex Salmond on attempted rape and sexual assault charges.

Johnson failed to repeat his election threat at prime minister’s questions, as he traded blows with Mr Corbyn over his latest Brexit defeat, but it remains part of No 10’s thinking.

The Independent

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