Britain looks set for an early election in attempt to break Brexit deadlock

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LONDON — The United Kingdom looks to be heading for an early general election days before Christmas, the latest attempt to break the country’s Brexit deadlock.The House of Commons is set to vote Tuesday night on whether to hold an early ballot in mid-December — which would be the country’s first general election in that month in almost 100 years.Leading in the polls, Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants an early election but does not have enough parliamentary power to sign off on this alone.Hours before the pivotal vote in Parliament, the opposition Labour Party said it would be supporting the bill, meaning it looks very likely to pass.Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.”We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told a meeting of senior lawmakers, according to a party statement.Whether an election will be enough to break the paralysis, chaos and uncertainty that is gripping British politics remains to be seen. What’s clear is the central campaign issue will be Brexit.The prime minister says he wants to leave the E.U. as soon as possible and has negotiated his own divorce deal with European negotiators. However many people — including some within his own party — fear his plan is too hard-line.He was forced to make a major concession this week after failing to pass his deal in Parliament. This meant he broke his promise to leave the E.U. by the deadline of Oct. 31, instead having to ask for an extension of three months.Johnson’s Conservative Party leads the polls by as much as 16 percentage points.The Labour Party says it wants to negotiate its own deal and put this back to the people in a second referendum. Corbyn had previously resisted calls for an early election because he said it would allow Johnson to leave Europe without a deal — an extreme scenario that could trigger severe economic pain. The extension scenario means this “no deal” Brexit can’t happen until next year at least.Others such as the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Nationalist Party want to cancel Brexit altogether.If the Conservatives or Labour were to secure a decisive enough victory, this would in theory give them the green light to push ahead with their agenda on Brexit and other issues. However, another possibility is that the election would return a Parliament just as deadlocked as this one.If no party wins more than 50 percent of seats, this is known as a “hung Parliament.” It’s what happened in 2017 and 2010 and usually means parties have to form coalitions in order to govern.British elections are usually held every five years and in the spring. If approved, this election would be the second inside three years, and the first held in December since 1923.Alexander SmithAlexander Smith is a senior reporter for NBC News Digital based in London.



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