‘An insult to voters’: Reaction as 12 December general election is confirmed

Boris Johnson has predicted a “tough” general election after MPs voted by 438 votes to 20 for a 12 December poll.

Welcoming the vote, the prime minister said it was time for the country to “come together to get Brexit done,” adding: “It’ll be a tough election and we are going to do the best we can.”

Writing in the Daily Mirror, Jeremy Corbyn said the election is a “once-in-a-generation chance to transform our country, take on the vested interests holding people back and ensure that no community is left behind”.

Jo Swinson, leader of the Lib Dems, said: “It is our best chance to elect a government to stop Brexit.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage took the opposite view, writing on Twitter that thanks to the forthcoming poll, “Brexit now has a chance to succeed”.

The SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon said: “A win for the SNP will be an unequivocal and irresistible demand for Scotland’s right to choose our own future.”

The bookmakers have the Tories as firm favourites, with Betfair saying putting them at 10/11 to win with Labour at 23/1 and the Lib Dems at 99/1.

However, the media commentary is not as favourable to Johnson and his chances.

The Guardian says Johnson’s approach to the election is “an insult to voters” because he has “tried to manipulate opinion to give the impression that this election is for the benefit of the people, rather than for the benefit of himself and his party”. 

The Times says the PM’s allies have “privately conceded that he risked a backlash for triggering a winter election without having delivered on his “do or die” promise to take Britain out of the EU tomorrow”.

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Sky News recalls what happened the last time a Tory prime minister called a December general election. “Stanley Baldwin won the most seats in 1923 but found himself in a hung parliament and out of power after Ramsey MacDonald formed the first ever Labour government propped up by the Liberals,” writes political editor Beth Rigby.

However, before Labour supporters get too excited at the prospect, the Daily Telegraph says the Brexit Party hopes to “wipe out Labour heartlands as it opens the door to an electoral pact with Tories”.

Across the pond, CNN says that “after lurching his party to the right on the issue of Europe through his expulsion of MPs who refused to support a no-deal split,” Johnson could lose support among moderates and anti-Brexit voters.

Back in Britain, The Sun insists: “our constipated political class will face an election at the mercy of the real bosses: The Voters.”

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