Express & Star comment: Gloves are off for general election showdown

Well, he got there eventually.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson got his way after plans for a general election were agreed by MPs
Prime Minister Boris Johnson got his way after plans for a general election were agreed by MPs

Boris Johnson has finally landed the general election he has craved – possibly since he took office, and certainly since it became apparent that no Brexit deal would ever get signed off by the current Parliament.

We have been heading for a national poll for some time, and in many ways it will viewed as a relief that the public will at least get the opportunity to have a say on the current group of MPs.

The timing of the election is far from ideal, leaving politicians and campaigners preparing to battle carol singers for space on our doorsteps.

But there appears to be no other way for the country to even stand a chance of getting Brexit over the line.

Make no mistake, if Mr Johnson was to persist with his attempts to push his withdrawal agreement through the Commons, it would be amended to such an extent that by the end of its passage, it would no longer be acceptable by the EU.

Like so much of what our MPs have done this year, the entire process would be a colossal waste of time.

So election it is, and the thoughts of our political parties will now be focused on what is likely to be a campaign which is full of twists and turns in the lead up to polling day.

The Conservative message is straightforward: back Mr Johnson and give us the majority we need to deliver Brexit.

The Liberals and the Scottish Nationalists also have clearly set out plans, both of which revolve around stopping Brexit, and in the case of Nicola Sturgeon’s party, gaining independence.

The Brexit Party, should Nigel Farage decide to stand candidates, will also have a major say.

Ostensibly, it is the Labour Party which faces the biggest task.

Jeremy Corbyn’s bullish claim that his party is ready for an election is simply not backed up by the facts.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the debate on the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill. Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The majority of his backbenchers are dreading the campaign, with many of them – particularly those in Leave voting areas – fearing for their seats on the back of Labour’s confused approach to Brexit.

The glum faces behind Mr Corbyn when he addressed the Commons told a very different story to the one he was trying to get across.

Why Mr Corbyn has agreed to an election that clearly suits Mr Johnson is a question that few of his MPs appear able to answer.

As things stand, the opinion polls point to a Conservative victory.

But those of a blue persuasion would perhaps be wise not to get ahead of themselves.

At this point in the 2017 snap election the party was 18 points ahead in the polls and Theresa May was supremely confident of ending up with a dominant position in the Commons.

She ended up losing seats while against the odds, Labour made gains.

That result contributed greatly to the position the country is in now, with a government unable to govern, let alone deliver Brexit.

With that in mind, it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that after this election, Parliament is left in a very similar position to the one it is in now.

Another hung Parliament would lead to more indecision, more uncertainty and of course, more delays to Brexit.

Such a prospect really does not bear thinking about.

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