Boris Johnson has admitted he may become Westminster’s “hostage” after he gave up on his do-or-die promise to deliver Brexit on October 31 and his latest plan for an election appeared doomed. 

The Prime Minister said November was now the earliest date to “get Brexit done”, although it could be January if the EU grants a three-month extension today. 

Despite splits in his own Cabinet about going to the polls, he will make a third attempt to get Parliament’s consent for an election on Monday, with an offer to hold it on December 12.

He said if MPs agree, they would have until November 6 to scrutinise the legislation putting his Brexit deal into law, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB). To show its seriousness, the Government also cancelled the budget due on November 6.

READ MORE: PM's general election bid on the rocks as Labour MPs urged to abstain from vote

However Labour and other parties were dismissive of the timetable, leaving the PM unlikely to get the two-thirds majority needed for an election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.

Labour said it wanted a “proper timetable” to scrutinise the WAB and for a no-deal Brexit to be ruled out, while the SNP said it would not be pushed into a “con trick”.  

After an emergency shadow cabinet meeting at which he was advised not to fall into a Tory trap, Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would only back an election if no-deal were “off the table”.

He suggested that meant changes to the WAB, something he knows Mr Johnson will refuse as it could cause his whole deal to fall apart. 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.

“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.”

He said Labour would wait to hear the EU’s decision on a Brexit extension before taking a view, although there were conflicting reports last night that Labour MPs had already been ordered to abstain on the election vote on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Johnson appears to be saying to MPs ‘if you vote for an election, I’ll bring back my bad Brexit bill and try to drag us out of the EU before we go to the polls’. 

“Elections should be exercises in letting voters decide, not devices for charlatans to get their own way.”

LibDem leader Jo Swinson said the PM had “missed his do-or-die deadline and is now demanding that parliament give him a general election and the time to ram through his Bill without proper scrutiny. The Liberal Democrats will not support any election until it is clear that we can avoid crashing out with no deal, and that needs an extension from the EU.” 

By dragging out the process so that Brexit drifts into 2020, the opposition want to make a mockery of Mr Johnson’s emphatic pledge to deliver it on Halloween, undermining his credibility in the hope he becomes as impotent as his predecessor, Theresa May.

That suits many Labour MPs who fear Mr Corbyn would be crushed in an early election, and need to make Mr Johnson as weak as possible.

Opposition parties also believe Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will be helped by Mr Johnson’s failure, costing the PM Tory votes whenever an election is held.
However, a do-nothing parliament could see a voter backlash hit all parties.

A new survey yesterday found a majority of both Leave and Remain supporters now think violent protests and attacks on MPs are “prices worth paying” to achieve their goals.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Johnson admitted EU leaders were today likely to grant the three-month Brexit extension he was forced to request on Saturday under the Benn Act.

He said: “I’m afraid it looks as though our EU friends are going to respond to Parliament’s request by having an extension, which I really don’t want at all. So the way to get Brexit done is to be reasonable with Parliament and say if they genuinely want more time to study this excellent deal they can have it. 

“But they have to agree to a General Election on December 12.”

READ MORE: MPs approve Government's legislative programme

Asked if the opposition could simply refuse and keep him “hostage”, he said: “They could, but I think it would be absolutely morally incredible if they were to do so. After all Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party have called repeatedly, endlessly, for a General Election.”

He said a refusal would see the Tories campaign day after day for the people “to be released from subjection to a Parliament that has outlived its usefulness, that has fulfilled its function, that is refusing to get Brexit done.”

Mr Johnson announced his election gamble after a meeting his political cabinet, amid disagreement over whether to prioritise finishing Brexit or  holding an election. Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said:“There’s obviously different views.”

Mr Johnson then wrote to Mr Corbyn saying they had a “duty to end this nightmare”, adding: “This Parliament has, with your encouragement, voted repeatedly for delay. 

“I am extremely sceptical this habit will change and many will doubt that this Parliament will do anything other than waste more time and then, in January, ask for yet another delay.

“If you commit to voting for an election next week (in the event of the EU offering a delay until 31 January and the government accepting, as it is legally forced to do by Parliament), then we will make available all possible time between now and 6 November for the WAB to be discussed and voted through, including Fridays, weekends, the earliest starts and the latest finishes.

This means that we could get Brexit done before the election on 12 December, if MPs choose to do so.

“But if Parliament refuses to take this chance and fails to ratify by the end of 6 November, as I fear it will, then the issue will have to be resolved by a new Parliament. An election on 12 December will allow a new Parliament and Government to be in place by Christmas.”

He said if the Tories won a majority in that election, parliament would “get Brexit done in January and the country will move on”.

If Labour won a majority, “I assume… you will ask for another delay after 31 January 2020 to give you the time both to renegotiate a new deal then have a referendum, in which you may or may not campaign for your own deal”.

It concluded: “Prolonging this paralysis into 2020 would have dangerous consequences for businesses, jobs and for basic confidence in democratic institutions, already badly damaged by the behaviour of Parliament since the referendum.  

“You have repeatedly said that once the EU accepts Parliament’s request for a delay until 31 January, then you would immediately support an election. 

“I assume this remains your position and therefore you will support an election next week so the voters can replace this broken Parliament.”

In a rare win for Mr Johnson, MPs approved the Government’s legislative programme, supporting his Queen’s Speech by 310 votes to 294.

However, MPs are unlikely to pass any of the 26 bills involved into law.

A few minutes later, Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the Government would table a motion calling for a General Election on Monday.

His shadow Valerie Vaz said Labour would only back it “once no-deal is ruled out and if the extension allows”.