THE UK is on the brink of an October general election, with the Prime Minister ready to call a “rapid” vote if he gets defeated in the Commons this week.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, Boris Johnson insisted he didn’t want to have to go to the country.

But the threat was implicit, if MPs vote against the Tories in Parliament to extend the Brexit process, and “chop the legs” off his negotiating progress today, it will in effect be seen as a vote of no confidence in the government.

The threat was later made explicit with No 10 sources telling journalists that the government would table a Commons vote tomorrow on holding a general election on October 14.

The Prime Minister addressed the country at 6pm from behind a podium outside No 10, shortly after an emergency meeting of cabinet and slightly before a drinks reception for all Tory MPs.

As he spoke swathes of protesters gathered in Whitehall, chanting “stop the coup”.

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The Tory leader said progress was being made in Brexit talks, but that Europe still weren’t taking the UK’s position seriously as they believed Parliament would ultimately stop Britain coming out of the EU on Halloween with no deal.

He said: “If there is one thing that can hold us back in these talks it is the sense in Brussels that MPs may find some way to cancel the referendum.”

If MPs vote against the government today, “for yet another pointless delay” it would “plainly chop the legs out from under the UK position and make any further negotiation absolutely impossible,” he claimed.

Johnson went on: “And so I say, to show our friends in Brussels that we are united in our purpose, MPs should vote with the government against Corbyn’s pointless delay.

“I want everybody to know – there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October, no ifs or buts.

“We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.

“Armed and fortified with that conviction I believe we will get a deal at that crucial summit in October. A deal that parliament will certainly be able to scrutinise.

“And in the meantime let our negotiators get on with their work Without that sword of Damocles over their necks.

“And without an election, which I don’t want and you don’t want.”

Unusually, the mid-October election would see the country going to the polls on a Monday rather than a Thursday.

The SNP had been planning to hold their conference in Aberdeen that week.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Plainly obvious from that statement that Johnson has no plan to get a deal. If MPs blink tomorrow, he will drive the UK off the no deal cliff on 31 October. He must not get away with it.”

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if Johnson does want to call an election he needs the support of two-thirds of MPs.

That seems easily obtainable with both the SNP and Labour backing a vote.

Sturgeon tweeted: “As talk of a General Election mounts, I say ‘bring it on’... but it must be before Oct 31. MPs must not allow Johnson to game the date as a ploy to push through a no deal Brexit.”

It’s understood the party has started fast-tracking candidates in seats where there is no incumbent.

According to a new poll of 10,000 adults, commissioned by the Conservative Group for Europe – a pro-European group led by former attorney general Dominic Grieve and ex-chancellor Ken Clarke – an election would see the SNP increase their numbers in the Commons by 17 – giving them 52 of Scotland’s 59 MPs.

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However, it also suggested the vote would ultimately lead to another hung parliament, with the Tories winning 311, compared to Labour’s 242 and the Lib Dem’s 21.

If accurate, it would mean Jeremy Corbyn losing 20 of his MPs.

Despite this, the leader of the opposition said the UK “needs” a general election.

At a speech in Salford, Corbyn said an election was the “democratic way forward”

“When a government finds itself without a majority the solution is not to undermine democracy,” he said.

“The solution is to let the people decide and call a general election.

“It is the people not an unelected prime minister who should determine our country’s future.”

However, earlier, former Labour leader Tony Blair warned that the party would be falling into an “elephant trap” if the vote is held beforehand. He said there should be a referendum with a No-Deal Brexit standing “on its own as a proposition”.