It could be that the Remainers have lost the weapon of a General Election from their fast depleting armoury of anti-Brexit options.


As parliament winds up business to adjourn for their summer recess, it may be that the Remainer politicians have just lost the ability to affect Brexit by forcing a General Election.

This is based on the convention that General Elections are held on Thursdays and that the current Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, will not apply to the EU Council for another Article 50 extension.

So under those circumstances, the last date on which a general election can be held that would allow a new government to come in and either extend Article 50 or revoke it altogether would be Thursday the 24th October.

And the House of Commons Library has laid out a nice little example of how this works in an article called "When might an early general election take place?" by one of the Senior Library Clerks, Graeme Cowie and the Library Marketing & Communications Manager, Sandip Samra.

So, can that date be met with 42 days of summer recess in the way?

Now, if an official motion of no confidence was tabled today, the 25th of July, by the leader of the opposition, it could possibly be debated on and voted on when they got back from recess on Tuesday the 3rd of September.

If Boris lost the vote then there is a 14 day period in which a vote of confidence in the government or a new administration could negate that vote of no confidence and there would be no General Election.

That takes us to Tuesday the 17th of September. Where, if the no confidence vote has not been reversed, an early general election is triggered.

The earliest that a Royal Proclamation can be made to call a general election is the next day, Wednesday the 18th of September.

And the earliest date on which parliament can be dissolved would be the day following that, Thursday the 19th of September.

Then, under the Fixed Term parliament Act, there must be a 25 working day period before the election itself.

And that takes us neatly up to Thursday the 24th of October.

But only if that no confidence motion is laid by Jeremy Corbyn today.

Any slippage in this by just one day and the earliest a General Election could be held would be Brexit Day itself, the 31st of October. Too late.

The only way that a general election could be effective in stopping Brexit then, would be if it was coupled somehow with an Article 50 extension having already been agreed.

I'll also mention that the recent amendment to a Northern Ireland Bill and the upcoming case in the Scottish Court of Sessions, both of which try to stop parliament being shut down by prorogation to force a no deal Brexit, would not affect the dissolution of parliament for a General Election.

So, it may be that the Remain campaign task has just got a lot harder – unless Corbyn acts now.

And this may explain the desperation in Jo Swinson's letter to Jeremy Corbyn today asking him to table a no confidence motion.

Now, in what came as music to my ears, Boris Johnson in his first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons ruled out the UK appointing another UK Commissioner to the European Union Commission, saying that under no circumstances would a new commissioner be nominated.

As my regular viewers will know, this had been one of my fears that, if we did put someone forward for the post on the basis of a possible short technical Article 50 extension, then that would end up helping the UK stay in the EU as extension followed extension.

But Boris says there will be no replacement for the present Commissioner, Julian King and going back on that would be very damaging for him and his party – very damaging.

Things are now looking more promising for Brexit right now.


When might an early general election take place?

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