Boris Johnson has pledged to push for a general election if Brussels allows a Brexit extension of up to three months – as requested in a letter he was forced to send.
The Prime Minister faced yet another defeat in Parliament last night, as MPs rejected the fast-tracked timetable to sign off his Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
The Commons had passed the Bill just minutes earlier with 329 votes for, 299 against, but Parliamentarians decided that the proposed three day debate was not enough time to scrutinise the legislation sealing its approval.
Following the vote, Mr Johnson said he would “pause” the legislation while he consulted with EU leaders on what should happen next.
Over the weekend he was forced by the Benn Act to write to EU leaders and seek a delay until the end of January after he failed to get his plan through Parliament in a special Saturday sitting.
However, the leader, who said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than extend past October 31, did not sign the letter and sent another one making it clear that it was Parliament’s request.
European Council president Donald Tusk said he would recommend they agree a further delay in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
A Number 10 source indicated that if the Prime Minister was forced to accept a delay until the new year, he would push for a general election instead.
“On Saturday Parliament asked for a delay until January and today Parliament blew its last chance,” the source said.
“If Parliament's delay is agreed by Brussels, then the only way the country can move on is with an election. This Parliament is broken.”
Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has said Brexit is now “in purgatory”, adding that it is “very hard to see how it is possible” for the Bill to pass through the Commons and the Lords before October 31.