The Latest: Main opposition party undecided on new election


Prime Minister of Finland Antti Rinne, left, talks with President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Helsinki, Finland, Thursday Oct. 24, 2019. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):

8:15 p.m.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party says it has not decided whether to support Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a snap general election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he will wait and see whether the European Union agrees to delay Britain’s scheduled Oct. 31 departure from the bloc.

He says that “if the EU will answer tomorrow then we’ll know tomorrow.”

He says Labour will back an election only if a no-deal Brexit is off the table.

Johnson has called a vote in Parliament for Monday. Without Labour’s supporting votes, Johnson will not get the two-thirds majority he needs to call an early election.

Johnson wants voters to go to the polls Dec. 12 to elect new lawmakers in hope of breaking the country’s political impasse over Brexit.

Polls suggest Johnson’s Conservative Party is more popular than Labour.


5:05 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he plans to ask Parliament to approve an early national election to be held on Dec. 12. Johnson says it’s the only way to break Britain’s Brexit impasse.

Britain’s next scheduled election is not until 2022. To call one early, Johnson needs to win a vote in Parliament. He has tried twice before and lost.

Johnson says the Dec. 12 date will give lawmakers time before the election to scrutinize his Brexit bill. Under his plan, Parliament would remain working until Nov. 6, when campaigning would start.


12:30 p.m.

The incoming president of the European Commission says she would ask London to appoint and send a commissioner to Brussels if Britain is granted a Brexit extension beyond the Oct. 31 deadline.

Ursula von der Leyen told reporters in Helsinki on Thursday that if Britain gets an extension and remains in the European Union after the end of the month, “then, of course, I would ask UK to send a commissioner” to Brussels.

Speaking in a joint news conference with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, von der Leyen said the prospects of granting London a Brexit extension looked “very good” but noted the length of it remained unclear.

Rinne, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, says a large majority —”maybe all countries” — were backing granting an extension.


10:00 a.m.

The head of the police service in Northern Ireland has warned that any Brexit deal seen to threaten the United Kingdom could lead to disorder.

Simon Byrne told the BBC on Wednesday that there was potential for unrest among communities who consider themselves loyal to the U.K.

Byrne says the “loyalist community has at times shown it can mobilize quickly, bring large numbers of people on to the streets and engage in public disorder in support of their cause.”

The Democratic Unionist Party has vociferously objected to elements in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s deal. They fear that proposals which treat Northern Ireland differently will bolster economic ties to the Republic of Ireland.

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