LONDON — Boris Johnson broke with convention Wednesday and challenged opposition parties to hold a vote of no confidence in his government.
The British prime minister, who twice failed to convince MPs to back a general election earlier this month, tried to trigger an election for the third time by giving his opponents until the end of the day to put forward a motion that would be voted on Thursday.
“Is [Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn] going to dodge a vote of no confidence in me as prime minister in order to escape the verdict of the voters?” Johnson asked. “Does he in his heart even want to be prime minister any more?”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn refused to take Johnson’s bait, arguing that they wanted to block the prime minister from taking the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal first. Earlier this month MPs backed a new law that would require the prime minister to ask the EU27 for an extension to Brexit negotiations if no deal is agreed by the time of the European Council summit in October.
“He says he wants a general election. I want an election. It’s very simple — if you want an election, if he wants an election, get an extension and let’s have an election,” Corbyn said.
Johnson addressed the House of Commons the day after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that the prime minister’s advice to the queen to suspend parliament for five weeks was “unlawful.”
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