The UK may be heading to the polls in less than six weeks if MPs move to block no deal in Parliament this week.
Sources close to Number 10 have indicated that should a bill designed to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a three month extension to Article 50 tomorrow, he will instead put forward a motion to call an election.
In a statement outside Number 10, the Prime Minister said that he did not want a general election, but said that negotiations with the EU would be impaired if MPs’ efforts to block no deal succeed.
Tomorrow’s bill, published by Labour MP Hilary Benn, would require the Prime Minister to request a delay to Brexit to January 31st next year unless MPs approve a deal or vote in favour of no deal by October 19th.
The bill would also require Boris Johnson to accept any alternative date of departure proposed by the European Council other than January 31st, regardless of how long or short that may be.
Should October 14 be the date of a general election, it would be the first time since 1931 that a general election has not been held on a Thursday, and the first since 1974 to be held in the autumn.
The news comes after the Prime Minister threatened to remove the whip and deselect Conservative MPs who rebel and vote in favour of the bill to block no deal.
The government currently has a working majority of one in the House of Commons and would need to win at least 15 more seats at the next general election.
Opinion polls currently suggest the Conservatives have a 10 to 12 percent lead over Labour, which could be enough to win them a majority of seats.
One poll however, conducted by Survation, suggested that the Conservatives may fail to win an overall majority if an election takes place before leaving the European Union.