Word tonight is that Labour will whip its MPs to abstain on Monday’s general election vote. Officially, Labour won’t formally declare its position until tomorrow. But if its MPs do abstain this means that the government won’t secure the necessary two-thirds support to dissolve parliament under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act. So no general election on 12 December.
The government will respond to its failure to secure an election by doing the minimum necessary in parliament, effectively daring the opposition to bring the government down in a confidence vote. It is looking increasingly likely that the opposition will have to go down this route. If the EU grants an extension to January 31st, something will have to happen on Brexit before then. European patience with Britain may well snap if the UK asks for another extension at the end of January having achieved no Brexit resolution during this extension.
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