The headlines on Wednesday were all depressingly predictable: Grinches stealing Christmas, turkeys being stuffed or voting for Christmas. But there was one that I profoundly disagreed with: “It’s on: the Brexit election”.

I disagreed for two reasons. First, this general election will not resolve Brexit, however Boris Johnson tries to frame it. A clear decision on Brexit requires a clear and specific question to voters in the form of a people’s vote or confirmatory ballot. A general election – with its myriad  issues – will not deliver this especially given that, under our archaic and undemocratic electoral system, majority governments are regularly elected on a minority of votes. 

For three and a half years now, Johnson has been manipulating the Brexit issue for his own political advantage, starting from the moment he decided to back the Leave campaign because he thought it would deliver him the keys to Number 10. Sadly, it eventually did. 

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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He is now weaponising Brexit to try to win a majority. He’s abandoned his Withdrawal Bill – despite it winning a majority in the commons – and is targeting Leave-voting areas with his poisonous narrative of “people vs parliament”. If we allow him to frame this as a Brexit election, we are falling into his trap.

Opposition parties had been quite shrewd in spotting these traps and shutting them down. His attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit by proroguing Parliament was foiled; his planned crash-out on 31 October “do or die” was averted; his cynical push for an early election was resisted – until now.

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UK news in pictures

1/50 29 October 2019

A 1264 locomotive travels through an autumn scene along the North York Moors National Park

2/50 28 October 2019

Paul Hayes of Lower Lydbrook ferries children to dry land after the River Wye burst its banks flooding the Gloucestershire village
Cosplayers during the third day of London’s Comic Con

4/50 26 October 2019

England fans celebrate after their side beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final match in Japan. Eddie Jones’s side won 19-7

5/50 25 October 2019

Meerkats at Blair Drummond Safari Park, Stirling, investigate a carved pumpkin as the park celebrates national pumpkin day on Saturday October 26.

6/50 24 October 2019

A giant inflatable monster, created by artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, is unveiled in Manchester ahead of the city’s annual halloween celebrations

7/50 23 October 2019

Thirty-nine bodies have been found in a lorry container in Essex, police have said.

The discovery of 38 adults and one teenager was made at an industrial estate in Thurrock.

Police said they believed the lorry had come from Bulgaria and entered the UK at Holyhead, in Wales, on Saturday.

Essex Police said it had launched a murder investigation after its officers were called to Waterglade Industrial Park, in Grays, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A 25-year-old-man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder

8/50 22 October 2019

Ships out at sea before the sun rises off the coast of Whitley Bay, Northumberland

9/50 21 October 2019

Hundreds of students take part in the traditional Raisin Monday foam fight on St Salvator’s Lower College Lawn at the University of St Andrews in Fife. The messy display is the culmination of a weekend of festivities where first years say thank you to their more senior student “parents” for mentoring them

10/50 20 October 2019

Wales players celebrate after beating France in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Japan. Warren Gatland’s side had to battle after France’s fast start but capitalised on their rivals’ ill discipline to squeeze into the semi-finals, 20-19

11/50 19 October 2019

People gather in London to join the Final Say march for a people’s vote

12/50 18 October 2019

Protesters on Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

13/50 17 October 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson shake hands during a news conference after agreeing on a Brexit deal, in Brussels

14/50 16 October 2019

A man walks his dog through the fallen leaves in Clarkes Gardens, Allerton in Liverpool

15/50 15 October 2019

Police officers carry away an activist as Extinction Rebellion protesters block a road with a caravan in central London

16/50 14 October 2019

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Charles on the Sovereign’s throne ahead of delivering the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament

17/50 13 October 2019

Great Britain’s Joe Fraser competes on Parallel Bars during the World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. He claimed GB’s second gold with his victory. The 20-year-old from Birmingham nailed his routine to score 15.0 then watched as a series of rivals failed to live up to his total

18/50 12 October 2019

St Helens players celebrate with the trophy after they won the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford in Manchester. They beat Salford Red Devils 23-6

19/50 11 October 2019

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Tehran since 2016, holds his daughter Gabriella during a news conference in London. Their five-year-old daughter has arrived back in Britain, after making the “bittersweet” decision to bring her home

20/50 10 October 2019

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor. Their meeting focused on further Brexit proposals

21/50 9 October 2019

Wales survived an almighty scare against Fiji to secure quarter-final spot at the rugby world cup. Warren Gatland’s side recovered from a 10-0 deficit thanks to a hat-trick from Josh Adams

22/50 8 October 2019

Protesters dubbed the Red Rebels at Millbank at the junction with Great College Street, during an Extinction Rebellion protest in Westminster

23/50 7 October 2019

Final preparations are made in front of a reproduction of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’, ahead of the opening of for the ‘Michelangelo: A Different View’ exhibition at Hull Minister

24/50 6 October 2019

A car drives through a flooded street in Whitley Bay in Northumberland

25/50 5 October 2019

Thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh today to march in support of a second Scottish independence referendum

26/50 4 October 2019

A 12ft sculpture of a gorilla, entitled ‘Gorilla Apocalypse’, created by Luke Kite entirely from scrap car bumpers and panels discarded in the last decade is on display at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire

27/50 3 October 2019

Police stands in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London

28/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses

29/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

30/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

31/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

32/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

33/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

34/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

35/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

36/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

37/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

38/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

39/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

40/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

41/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

42/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

43/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

44/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

45/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

47/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

48/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

49/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

50/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

1/50 29 October 2019

A 1264 locomotive travels through an autumn scene along the North York Moors National Park

2/50 28 October 2019

Paul Hayes of Lower Lydbrook ferries children to dry land after the River Wye burst its banks flooding the Gloucestershire village
Cosplayers during the third day of London’s Comic Con

4/50 26 October 2019

England fans celebrate after their side beat New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-final match in Japan. Eddie Jones’s side won 19-7

5/50 25 October 2019

Meerkats at Blair Drummond Safari Park, Stirling, investigate a carved pumpkin as the park celebrates national pumpkin day on Saturday October 26.

6/50 24 October 2019

A giant inflatable monster, created by artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, is unveiled in Manchester ahead of the city’s annual halloween celebrations

7/50 23 October 2019

Thirty-nine bodies have been found in a lorry container in Essex, police have said.

The discovery of 38 adults and one teenager was made at an industrial estate in Thurrock.

Police said they believed the lorry had come from Bulgaria and entered the UK at Holyhead, in Wales, on Saturday.

Essex Police said it had launched a murder investigation after its officers were called to Waterglade Industrial Park, in Grays, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A 25-year-old-man from Northern Ireland has been arrested on suspicion of murder

8/50 22 October 2019

Ships out at sea before the sun rises off the coast of Whitley Bay, Northumberland

9/50 21 October 2019

Hundreds of students take part in the traditional Raisin Monday foam fight on St Salvator’s Lower College Lawn at the University of St Andrews in Fife. The messy display is the culmination of a weekend of festivities where first years say thank you to their more senior student “parents” for mentoring them

10/50 20 October 2019

Wales players celebrate after beating France in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final in Japan. Warren Gatland’s side had to battle after France’s fast start but capitalised on their rivals’ ill discipline to squeeze into the semi-finals, 20-19

11/50 19 October 2019

People gather in London to join the Final Say march for a people’s vote

12/50 18 October 2019

Protesters on Whitehall in London during an Extinction Rebellion climate change protest

13/50 17 October 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson shake hands during a news conference after agreeing on a Brexit deal, in Brussels

14/50 16 October 2019

A man walks his dog through the fallen leaves in Clarkes Gardens, Allerton in Liverpool

15/50 15 October 2019

Police officers carry away an activist as Extinction Rebellion protesters block a road with a caravan in central London

16/50 14 October 2019

Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Charles on the Sovereign’s throne ahead of delivering the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament

17/50 13 October 2019

Great Britain’s Joe Fraser competes on Parallel Bars during the World Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. He claimed GB’s second gold with his victory. The 20-year-old from Birmingham nailed his routine to score 15.0 then watched as a series of rivals failed to live up to his total

18/50 12 October 2019

St Helens players celebrate with the trophy after they won the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford in Manchester. They beat Salford Red Devils 23-6

19/50 11 October 2019

Richard Ratcliffe, husband of British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe jailed in Tehran since 2016, holds his daughter Gabriella during a news conference in London. Their five-year-old daughter has arrived back in Britain, after making the “bittersweet” decision to bring her home

20/50 10 October 2019

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Thornton Manor. Their meeting focused on further Brexit proposals

21/50 9 October 2019

Wales survived an almighty scare against Fiji to secure quarter-final spot at the rugby world cup. Warren Gatland’s side recovered from a 10-0 deficit thanks to a hat-trick from Josh Adams

22/50 8 October 2019

Protesters dubbed the Red Rebels at Millbank at the junction with Great College Street, during an Extinction Rebellion protest in Westminster

23/50 7 October 2019

Final preparations are made in front of a reproduction of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’, ahead of the opening of for the ‘Michelangelo: A Different View’ exhibition at Hull Minister

24/50 6 October 2019

A car drives through a flooded street in Whitley Bay in Northumberland

25/50 5 October 2019

Thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh today to march in support of a second Scottish independence referendum

26/50 4 October 2019

A 12ft sculpture of a gorilla, entitled ‘Gorilla Apocalypse’, created by Luke Kite entirely from scrap car bumpers and panels discarded in the last decade is on display at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry, Shropshire

27/50 3 October 2019

Police stands in front of the Treasury building during an Extinction Rebellion protest in London

28/50 2 October 2019

Ex-Thomas Cook employees demonstrate in London after delivering a petition calling for a full inquiry into Thomas Cook’s collapse and for the company’s directors to pay back their bonuses

29/50 1 October 2019

A road in Alum Rock, Birmingham is flooded after persistent heavy rain

30/50 30 September 2019

Two tourists pose for pictures in front of Union and EU flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London

31/50 29 September 2019

A sheep on London Bridge as Freemen of the City of London took up their historic entitlement to drive sheep over the bridge, which was once London’s only river crossing

32/50 28 September 2019

An Aldabra giant tortoise is fed watermelon as a treat at the Malvern Autumn Show, at the Three Counties Showground near Malvern in Worcestershire

33/50 27 September 2019

Gallery assistants pose with an artwork entitled ‘Devolved Parliament’ by British artist Banksy, during a press view in London ahead of Sotheby’s contemporary art sale, as part of the Frieze Art Fair

34/50 26 September 2019

England’s Jonathan Joseph is tackled by United State’s Marcel Brache during their group match at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. England scored seven tries on their way to winning 45-7

35/50 25 September 2019

Tributes for former Rangers player Fernando Ricksen at Ibrox Stadium. Today, the funeral procession will pass Ibrox Stadium before making the journey to Wellington Church

36/50 24 September 2019

A person dressed as a caricature of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a prison uniform stands outside the Supreme Court after it ruled that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal

37/50 23 September 2019

Thomas Cook aircraft are parked up at Manchester Airport on the day they collapsed after rescue talks failed. A total of 22,000 jobs – including 9,000 in UK – are to be lost following administration. More than 150,000 British holidaymakers need to be brought home, with the government and CAA hiring dozens of charter planes to fly customers home free of charge

38/50 22 September 2019

Fire performer Penella Bee performs before people take part in the North East Skinny Dip at Druridge Bay in Nothumberland, an annual event that marks the Autumn Equinox and raises money for MIND – the Mental Health Charity

39/50 21 September 2019

Protesters gather for a march and rally organised by “The People’s Vote” in Brighton, to call for politicians to give the public a final say referendum on Brexit

40/50 20 September 2019

Protesters in London joined millions across world to demand urgent action to save planet in the largest environmental protest in history

41/50 19 September 2019

Rapper Dave poses with the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year Award at Apollo

42/50 18 September 2019

A surfer in action during sunrise at Tynemouth on the north east coast

43/50 17 September 2019

Protesters dressed as the Incredible Hulk and Robocop outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament. The Supreme Court will hear appeals over three days from two separate challenges to the prorogation of Parliament brought in England and Scotland

44/50 16 September 2019

Farmer Tom Hoggard harvests pumpkins at Howe Bridge Farm in Yorkshire, ahead of Halloween

45/50 15 September 2019

Team Europe celebrate winning the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland. Europe won the last three singles matches to claim victory 14½-13½
Sunset at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay

47/50 13 September 2019

Activists from PETA stage a demonstration outside a venue during London Fashion Week in London, Britain

48/50 12 September 2019

Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne attempts to stop a boundary in the fifth Test

49/50 11 September 2019

Storm clouds gather over the pier just off the North East coast at South Shields

50/50 10 September 2019

The peloton rides past the Angel of the North during stage four of the Tour of Britain from Gateshead to Kendal

Earlier this week, all objections were swept aside as 438 MPs signed up for a December poll – even though it plays straight into Johnson’s hands. It’s a deeply disappointing response after months of principled resistance to one of the most right-wing prime ministers in recent history.

If his gamble pays off – and it is a huge gamble – we face years of lies, the scrapping of regulations protecting workers’ rights and the environment, the sacrifice of our NHS to US drug companies in the pursuit of a trade deal with Trump’s America, and the very real prospect of a no-deal Brexit at some time in the future.

The second reason I reject the notion of a Brexit election is that this is not the most important issue facing our country – despite the column inches and airtime devoted to it.

We are facing a climate emergency with very little time to respond to it. The government’s own advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, warned us back in July that the next 18 months would be critical in determining whether we are serious about averting climate catastrophe.

Over the past year, the government has delivered just one of 25 critical policies needed to meet emissions reduction targets. Climate action to prepare homes, businesses and our natural environment for climate change is going backwards.

When Boris Johnson says he wants to “get Brexit done to regulate differently” – and his first step is to drop environmental protections from his Withdrawal Bill – it sends a clear message about his commitment to climate action. He isn’t interested.

His record on climate speaks for itself. His leadership campaign was part-funded by a director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, an anti-climate action lobby group. He dodged the Heathrow expansion, skipping a key vote despite previously saying he opposed a third runway (so add cowardice to the charge sheet). He’s been a member of a government which has slashed support for renewable energy, subsidised fossil fuels and backed fracking. 

Most of the time, though, he simply ignores the issue and his ministers follow suit. September’s spending round had nothing in it which addressed the scale of the emergency. No detail on decarbonisation, nothing on renewable energy, nothing to promote a programme of building millions of zero-carbon homes. 

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A survey today from ClientEarth shows that climate change would influence the way more than half of adults will vote in the general election, and nearly two-thirds of them want a Green New Deal.

This isn’t the Brexit election, it’s the climate election. Boris Johnson has shown he can’t be trusted to tell the truth, obey the law, or even deliver on his own promises. He certainly can’t be trusted to set us on a path away from climate catastrophe.

This is a decisive moment for our country. How people vote will determine our future not just for the next five years but for generations. It feels like the moment to vote Green.