UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his residence in north London on October 28 2019. Picture: AFP/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS.
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his residence in north London on October 28 2019. Picture: AFP/DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS.

London — The UK’s main opposition Labour Party says it will back a December general election, putting the country on course for its third poll in four years.

Boris Johnson promised not to push forward with his Brexit deal until a new parliament has been elected, meeting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s condition that a no-deal Brexit be taken off the table before his party would back a national vote.

Corbyn told his team, “For the next three months, our condition of taking no-deal off the table has now been met,” according to a statement. “We will now launch the most ambitious and radical campaign for real change our country has ever seen.”

The parties are haggling over the date of the election, with a day between December 9 and December 12 currently on the table. Amendments to Johnson’s bill are being written now.

The biggest sticking point in Boris Johnson’s bid for a December 12 general election is the date itself. Two smaller opposition parties, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party, whose support could be key to the government’s chances, want an earlier poll on December 9 to ensure students are still at their universities to cast their ballots.

Johnson lacks a majority in parliament, so will need at least some opposition votes to secure an early election. But the Liberal Democrats and SNP, both staunchly pro-EU and anti-Brexit, regard students as a key constituency.

With Caroline Alexander

Bloomberg