Could we still be voting in a General Election on October?
- Credit: PA
MPs have returned to Parliament for what looks like the most crucial week in the Brexit process – a week which could end with the start of a general election campaign.
Conservative MPs were called to a meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday evening, the day before the House of Commons is due to return after the summer recess.
Boris Johnson met his cabinet on Monday - and then addressed the country on the steps of Downing Street.
He said he did not want to call an early General Election - but left the door open to an October poll if the House of Commons tried to frustrate his plans to leave the EU by October 31.
And he made it quite clear he would not accept any change to that date - which was interpreted as a clear indication that if MPs did try to outlaw a no-deal Brexit he would launch an election campaign.
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There were suggestions that the election could be held on Monday, October 14. Elections are normally held on Thursdays, but that would clash with the European summit and there is no legal bar to them being held on another day of the week.
Suffolk MPs were having to re-arrange their plans. Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter was due to attend a meeting about the Ipswich northern bypass at Rushmere St Andrew on Monday night before being called back by the Conservative Whips.
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He said: "It's obviously going to be a very important meeting. I don't think the Prime Minister wants an immediate election - it would be better to come out on October 31 and then have an election in the New Year, but that might not be possible."
Ipswich Labour MP Sandy Martin is also returning to London on Monday night ahead of meetings with his party's MPs on Tuesday morning.
He remains unclear about what might happen - although the possibility of holding a General Election before the planned Brexit date is likely to be high on the agenda.
If there is an October election, the main interest in Suffolk is expected to focus - as with most elections - on the Ipswich seat.
All the county's Conservative MPs have backed the need to come out of the EU on October 31, although they have all said they would rather this happened with a deal.
Mr Martin's support for a second referendum on leaving the EU, and his Conservative opponent Tom Hunt's backing for leaving on October 31 come what may means an October election in the town would be focussed on the Brexit issue.
But there is no certainty about an election on that day as yet - Mr Johnson is thought to be waiting to see what motions are put down for debate and how many Tory rebels are likely to defy the government before making up his mind. But no one should rule Britain's first autumn election for 45 years.