EXCL Labour MPs tell party chairman Ian Lavery they will not back a snap election

Posted On: 
14th October 2019

Labour MPs have told the party's chairman that they will not back calls for a snap election.

Ian Lavery told MPs Labour had 'never been more ready for an election'
Credit: 
PA Images

Ian Lavery told a meeting of Labour MPs and peers that the party has "never been more ready" for the country to go to the polls.

But a number of backbenchers told a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party that they could not support an election before a second EU referendum.

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Some also claimed that Jeremy Corbyn remained unpopular with voters and would lead the party to another defeat.

One MP present said: "We had 15 minutes from Lavery telling us we are election ready and an hour of MPs saying we are not."

Mr Lavery, who believes an election must take place before another referendum, told the meeting that winter weather meant that an election at some point in the next three months would be "mayhem".

He said there was little Labour could do to prevent it taking place - and insisted they were in good shape to fight an election whenever it happens.

But Brighton and Hove MP Peter Kyle asked him why Labour was consistently polling behind an unpopular Conservative government.

Meanwhile, Bermondsey and Old Southwark MP Neil Coyle asked if Jeremy Corbyn's picture could be left off leaflets in areas where he is a turn-off for voters, and replaced by photographs of local community figures.

One MP told PoliticsHome: "Lavery just read out a list of things we will do, like deliver leaflets, direct mails and knocking on doors. Genius."

Another said: "He united the PLP in one clear unambiguous position: we cannot have an election."

The PLP clashes once again highlighted the deep splits within Labour over when an election should take place.

Mr Corbyn last week had been due to say the party was "champing at the bit" for an election, but dropped it from a speech.

John McDonnell told a meeting of the Shadow Cabinet last week that an early election was a "trap" being laid by the Tories, while Tom Watson, Emily Thornberry and Keir Starmer have all said they would rather have a second referendum first.

Labour has twice voted against Boris Johnson's attempts to call an election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, arguing that a no-deal Brexit had to be taken off the table first.

It is unclear whether the Prime Minister will make a third attempt after the 31 October Brexit deadline, or whether opposition parties will hold a vote of no confidence in the Government, which would also likely trigger an early election.