06/10/2019 14:05 BST

Labour Will Back General Election Before Christmas Once No-Deal Avoided, Says Baroness Chakrabarti

Shadow attorney general says PM has a "very casual relationship with the law".


Labour will permit Boris Johnson to hold a general election before Christmas, a key ally of Jeremy Corbyn has said.

Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general, confirmed on Sunday morning the party would vote for an election once a no-deal Brexit on October 31 had been avoided.

The prime minister has repeatedly said he will take the UK out of the EU at the end of this month with or without a deal.

But he has until October 19 to pass a deal or he will be required by the Benn Act - passed by MPs opposed to no-deal - to ask the EU to extend Article 50.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show this morning, Chakrabarti said once the Benn Act has been complied with, there should be a general election “certainly this side of Christmas”.

Labour has repeatedly to allow Johnson to hold an election until it can be sure no-deal has been avoided.

Chakrabarti dismissed the idea Johnson could try and bypass the Benn Act  by finding a loophole.

“It was drafted with great care after a great deal of cooperation across the House of Commons and it is very very specific and explicit about the personal duty on the prime minister to either get a deal through the House of Commons or persuade the House of Commons that no-deal is plausible, or he has to write a letter,” she said.

“The letter has been drafted and attached to the Act to the European Union asking for more time.”

Chakrabarti added: “He seems to have a very casual relationship with the law. He seems to think he is above the law. As the Supreme Court showed us a few weeks ago, he is not. No one is above the law, even a British Prime Minister.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said delivering Brexit on October 31 was the “sole focus” of ministers.

And he said the government has “no plan” for what might happen if MPs blocked no-deal.