James Forsyth

Boris Johnson rallies Tory MPs as Commons backs snap election

Boris Johnson rallies Tory MPs as Commons backs snap election
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The House of Commons has just voted by 438 to 20 for a 12 December election. Given that amendments on extending the franchise were not selected as they were out of scope, the Commons has also backed an election with the existing general election franchise. Even in these unpredictable times, it would be jaw dropping if the House of Lords tried to amend this bill tomorrow. So, it looks pretty much nailed on that we are heading for a 12 December election.

We can see in the parties who have been most enthusiastic about this poll—the Tories, the SNP and the Lib Dems—who thinks they will benefit from it. In truth, they all could unless Labour has a campaign bounce. In 2017, they had a quite spectacular one, but the circumstances don’t look so propitious for them this time. It will be far harder for them to straddle on Brexit the way they did in 2017 and the public’s views of Jeremy Corbyn are far more baked in than they were then. 

After the vote, Boris Johnson addressed Tory MPs. The room was buoyed by the return of Nicholas Soames, Churchill’s grandson who has had the Tory whip restored. Boris Johnson then gave his stump speech which received, even by the standards of these things, a loud reception. 

After 2017, the Tory party is always going to be nervous about an early election. But the fact Boris Johnson appears to have got out of this parliamentary limbo, getting an election without having to concede on the franchise or the date, has given Tory MPs a bit more confidence about the next few weeks.

If the polls continue to look good for the Tories a week from now, a lot of Tory nerves will begin to calm.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

Topics in this articlePoliticsbrexit