Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are reportedly meeting to discuss a new programme motion after the Prime Minister put his Brexit deal on pause.
According to The Times political editor Francis Elliott the party leaders will meet with other senior figures, including Dominic Cummings, to discuss the next moves.
A programme motion is used by the government to timetable a Bill’s progress through the House of Commons by setting out the time allowed for debate at each of its stages.
It comes as the PM vowed to push for an election if EU leaders sanction a Brexit extension of up to three months.
The Labour Party looks as if it could be prepared to back it before agitating for a second referendum – as long as an extension with Brussels is in place.
Johnson must now wait to hear from the heads of the EU27 to see if an extension will be granted and how long they will give.
European Council president Donald Tusk said he would recommend they agree a further delay in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Although Justice Secretary Robert Buckland, speaking on the Today programme, said there was no guarantee the EU would grant a short extension to pass the PM’s Brexit Bill.
He said what he did know, from speaking to “key people” in Europe was that “they want this over”.
Get Labour on-board
Senior Tory David Lidington, the de facto deputy prime minister when Theresa May was in office, urged the PM to put his WAB timetable to MPs one more time before going to the polls in an attempt to get Labour on-board.
Any new timetable, he told the BBC, would need an extension because there was “no way the October deadline can be met” following the defeat of the high-speed bill timetable.
“My gut instinct is to give it another go because I think even if you end up with an election then tactically to be seen to have really pressed the Labour Party to say, ‘Well, if two days is not enough then how many days actually would be sufficient for you?’” he said.
Public would not “welcome election in the run-up to Christmas”
The former Europe minister said he did not think the public would “welcome an election in the run-up to Christmas” but suggested, should Mr Johnson be successful in calling one, it could happen as early as the last week of November.
The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson had begun calling EU leaders on Tuesday night to tell them he would not accept a three-month delay, but has reportedly not ruled out approving a short extension of around 10 days to allow his deal to get through Parliament.
A Number 10 source indicated that if the Prime Minister was forced to accept a delay until the new year, he would push for a general election instead.
“If Parliament’s delay is agreed by Brussels, then the only way the country can move on is with an election. This Parliament is broken,” the source said.
Clever, usually illegal, ruses
In a swipe at the unnamed “sources” briefing out of Number 10, former Tory grandee Ken Clarke said Mr Johnson should “get rid” of those briefing anonymously on his behalf.
Asked about what he made of suggestions the PM could use a one-line bill – where Mr Johnson would only need a simple majority in Parliament – to try and secure a general election, Mr Clarke said:
“He should get rid of all these people who come up with these clever, usually illegal, ruses.”
The one-line bill concept has been touted because of the former mayor of London’s lack of majority, meaning it is near impossible, without opposition support, to meet the two-thirds threshold for an election that is written into the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.
Mr Clarke, who was sacked by the Conservative Party leader for voting to block no-deal, said a one-line bill would likely be amended to give votes to 16-year-olds and force changes upon the Brexit bill, making it an unlikely option for the PM.