Johnson's bid for pre-Christmas election moves a step closer as it clears first Commons hurdle

MPs have given approval to Boris Johnson's request for a general election before Christmas, in principle, however amendments to the Bill may now be added.

The prime minister wants to go to the polls on December 12 - declaring the need for a "new and revitalised" Parliament which is able to deliver Brexit.

But there have been suggestions he may pull the Bill if MPs decide to bring the PM's election date forward by three days, to December 9.

Some MPs had been hoping 16 year olds and EU nationals with settled status would be allowed to vote in the election, but Deputy Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle did not select those issues for debate.

Instead he selected Labour's amendment for a general election on Monday December 9 and an associated technical amendment.

Meanwhile, ten MPs who were expelled from the Conservative Party last month after rebelling over Brexit had the whip restored, a party spokesman said.

The spokesman said Alistair Burt, Caroline Noakes, Greg Clarke, Nicholas Soames, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Steve Brine, Richard Benyon and Stephen Hammond will be allowed to fight the next election as Tories.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was clear an "overwhelming majority" of MPs were in support of the general election legislation at its second reading.

Even though MPs approved an election, it does not necessarily mean there will be one before Christmas, with several hurdles still left for the PM to clear before he can go to the country.

First, MPs could amend the Bill as it undergoes further scrutiny in the Commons on Tuesday evening - it could also be blocked in the House of Lords.

Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis explained the government is insisting on a December 12 election because it leaves time to get "bits of legislation done" before Parliament is dissolved for 25 days to make way for the election.

The chances a general election clearing its first hurdle were dramatically improved when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn announced his party was "ready for an election".

He told his shadow cabinet that since the risk of a no-deal Brexit had been taken "off the table", his party was going to launch the "most ambitious and radical campaign" and he added: "We're going out there to win".

Prime Minister Johnson told the Commons Labour is not interested in delivering Brexit as he kicked off a debate on whether to hold an early election.

"All they want to do is procrastinate," he said, "they don't want to deliver Brexit on October 31, on November 31, even on January 31."

But Mr Corbyn hit back, telling the Commons his party is ready to fight a general election because it wants "this country to be rid of this reckless and destructive Conservative government".

Mr Corbyn said that now the risk of no deal had been removed for three months, his party would "now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen."

Shadow cabinet member Richard Burgon said Labour has "decided that we will be backing a general election" because "we can't leave these Tories in power any longer".

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said his party wants an election "as quickly as possible" but said it could only back one if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) was not brought back before the Commons.

The prime minister put his Brexit deal on hold in a bid to convince the Commons to vote on Tuesday for an election on December 12.

The WAB is the legislation that needs to pass both Houses of Parliament before the prime minister's Brexit deal can take effect.

Meanwhile, Heidi Allen, a former Tory who joined the Lib Dems, announced she would not be standing in the next election.

In a letter to her constituents she said: "I am exhausted by the invasion into my privacy and the nastiness and intimidation that has become commonplace."

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