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Will there be a snap general election in October?

Boris Johnson, the favourite candidate to become the new Prime Minister of Great Britain. Image credit: The Huffington Post
Boris Johnson, the favourite candidate to become the new Prime Minister of Great Britain. Image credit: The Huffington Post
Boris Johnson ruled himself out of the Conservative leadership contest this morning. Image credit: The Huffington Post

The political maelstrom engulfing the Labour Party became stronger on Tuesday as 170 MPs stated their lack of confidence in the leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn MP. The Labour leader has vowed to continue his leadership for to resign would be a betrayal of the party’s members.

Fundamentally the ‘Corbyn coup’ concerns the Labour leader’s capacity to lead his party to electoral victory. In the multitude of resignation letters that Mr. Corbyn has received, many now ex-members of his Shadow Cabinet have said that the Labour Party requires a capable leader who could put Labour into government. This sudden coup would not have been triggered without the possibility of a snap general election this year.

Upon the news that the Great British people had voted for their country to sever its ties with the European Union, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced outside 10 Downing Street that he intended to resign. Mr. Cameron, the MP for Witney, played a leading role in the campaign for Britain to remain part of the European Union. His pro-EU stance caused division within his Cabinet but the majority of Conservative MPs, as well as MPs of other political parties, sided with him. However, on June 23rd the British public voted otherwise.

Mr. Cameron’s support for the European Union would make it a huge political embarrassment for him to be the man in charge of activating ‘Article 50’, triggering a two-year process of withdrawing the country from the European body. As a consequence he will soon be moving out of Downing Street. His successor, likely a pro-‘Brexit’ Member of Parliament, is expected to call a general election at short notice: Mr. Cameron was elected on the promise of holding a referendum, not taking Britain out of the EU. Therefore, his successor, whomever he or she may be, will likely hold a snap election to gain a mandate to remove Great Britain from the European Union. The Independent reports that an election could be held on October 13th.

However, in Parliament on Monday, David Cameron said that the decision to hold a snap general election was that of his successor. He referred to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, suggesting that the Conservative Party could remain in government until 2020 before needing to hold an election. Boris Johnson, considered by many to be the favourite candidate to become the new Prime Minister, hinted that a snap general election may not be necessary. The BBC reported that a senior source close to Mr. Johnson felt that the public’s vote for ‘Brexit’ was enough of a mandate for Mr. Johnson to become Prime Minister and lead the country’s withdrawal from the EU. However, Mr. Johnson announced this morning that he would not be running in the Conservative leadership race.

On Monday Jeremy Corbyn met thousands of his supporters gathered outside Westminster. The MP for Islington North promised to fight on as the party leader and to stand again as a candidate in the event of a leadership challenge. A snap election occurring in October is uncertain, but Members of Parliament of all parties are preparing to campaign for a position in government.