BORIS Johnson's bid for a December general election looks lost after Labour MPs were told to abstain from Monday's vote.

The development came after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour will only support the prime minister’s push for a general election if a no-deal Brexit is taken “off the table”.

The Prime Minister announced today that he would be putting forward a motion for a general election to take place on December 12.

The Benn Act which forced the government to seek a delay to Brexit till January, after the October 31 deadline, was put together to avoid a no deal exit from the EU.  

Mr Corbyn was unable to say whether the granting of a Brexit extension until the end of next January would satisfy his call for taking no deal off the table.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson calls for December 12 general election amidst Brexit chaos

The EU is expected to give its verdict on extending Brexit on Friday.

HeraldScotland: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn alongside shadow chancellor John McDonnell (right) listens to General Secretary of Unite union Len McCluskey's speech during the second day of the Labour Party conference at the Brighton Centre

And he declined to say whether or not Labour will back moves for an election if the Commons votes on the matter on Monday.

Boris Johnson's motion for a general election which will be placed on Monday, must win the support of two-thirds of the Commons in order to trigger a poll.

But an email to Labour MPs instructs them to abstain on Monday’s general election vote. They are allowed to vote against if they wish. 

If Labour MPs do not rebel, that would mean the Johnson motion would fail.

In an interview, Mr Corbyn said: "Take no deal off the table and we will absolutely support an election. I’ve been calling an election ever since the last one because this country needs one in order to deal with all the social injustices but no deal must be taken off the table."

Asked what he would do in the event of a vote on Monday on whether or not to hold elections, he said: "Tomorrow, the European Union will decide whether there’s going to be an extension granted or not that extension will obviously encompass whether there’s a no deal or not. Let’s find that out tomorrow."

READ MORE: Boris Johnson calls for December 12 general election amidst Brexit chaos

Asked what course of action he would define as having taken no deal off the table, he said: "No deal is a threat that Boris Johnson has been using all along, and indeed it’s included in his legislation that’s before parliament at the moment; the legislation that he’s paused.

"I want us to not crash out of the EU because of all the damage it will do to jobs across this country."

The Conservatives currently enjoy a healthy poll lead of 10 points, on average, according to Britain Elects, with the government on 35%. That leaves Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition on 25%, while the Liberal Democrats sit at 18%.

Jeremy Corbyn warned Boris Johnson at the beginning of last month that Labour will only vote for a snap general election once parliament has prevented a no-deal Brexit.

Labour feared then that if an election was called Mr Johnson may simply move the date beyond October 31, the date Britain is due to leave the EU, which would cause a no-deal exit by default.

The Benn Act that was later put in place required Mr Johnson to seek an extension to Brexit negotiations to January 31 unless he secures either a deal or parliamentary support for no-deal by October 19.  

Speaking earlier after a meeting of so-called ‘rebel alliance’ MPs at the time, Mr Corbyn said he “fully expects” that the cross-party legislation to prevent no-deal would clear the Commons.

“Labour wants to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and to have a general election, so we can end austerity and invest in our communities. I am confident we can have both, and we’ve been in discussions about a way to achieve this,” he said.