LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly said he will take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without an exit deal. His opponents say they will try to stop a no-deal exit even if that means forcing an early election.
FILE PHOTO: A Union Jack flag flutters over the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
The stage is set for a showdown when parliament returns from its summer break on Sept. 3 with lawmakers who want to stop no deal threatening to bring the government down with a vote of no confidence.
That would likely trigger an election, but could that happen before Brexit?
HOW CAN AN ELECTION BE CALLED?
The next election is scheduled in 2022. An early election is possible if a majority of lawmakers in Britain’s 650-seat parliament vote to hold one.
WHO DECIDES WHEN THE ELECTION IS HELD?
There are legal restrictions setting out a minimum period before an election can take place after the government loses a no-confidence vote, but not on the maximum period before one needs to be held.
The House of Commons Library, the parliamentary authority on process and procedure, says election law “gives the prime minister broad legal discretion about when an early general election should take place”.
COULD JOHNSON WAIT UNTIL AFTER BREXIT TO HOLD AN ELECTION?
Yes. British law states the country will cease to be a member of the European Union on Oct. 31, regardless of whether an exit deal has been agreed with the EU. It