LONDON (AP) — After months of stalemate in Parliament, Britain appeared on course Tuesday for an early general election that could break the country’s political deadlock over Brexit. Opposition lawmakers backed in principle the government’s request to send voters to the polls in December —though Prime Minister Boris Johnson still faced a tussle over the exact date.

The road to polling day opened up when the main opposition Labour Party, which for weeks had opposed Johnson’s call for a Dec. 12 election, changed its position.

That sent the bill over its first hurdle in Parliament Tuesday, and onto a debate about the timing. Final votes in the House of Commons to approve the election and fix the date were due later Tuesday.

Johnson is pushing for an election in hopes of breaking the parliamentary stalemate that blocked his plan to take Britain out of the European Union this month. This week the EU granted Britain a three-month Brexit extension until Jan. 31.

Johnson — who has had to abandon his vow to lead Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 “do or die” — accused his opponents of wanting to prolong the Brexit process “until the 12th of never.”

He told lawmakers in Parliament on Tuesday there was no choice but “to go to the country to break free from this impasse.”

“There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism, this endless, willful, fingers crossed, ‘not me guv’ refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people — and that is to refresh this Parliament and give the people a choice,” Johnson said.

For weeks, opposition parties have defeated Johnson’s attempts to trigger an election. But now that Brexit has been delayed, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his opposition party would vote in favor of an early election because the prospect that Britain could crash out of the EU without a divorce deal had been taken off the table.

“I’ve said consistently, when no-deal is off the table we will back an election,” Corbyn said. “Today, after much denial and much bluster by the prime minister that deal is officially off the table, so this country can vote for the government that it deserves.”

On Monday, Johnson proposed a Dec. 12 election under a different procedure that required a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons but lawmakers voted it down — Johnson’s third such defeat.

Britain is not scheduled to hold a general election until 2022, and this would be the country’s first December election since 1923.

With all major opposition parties on board, the early-election bill looked set to be approved by the House of Commons late Tuesday. Parliament’s unelected upper chamber, the House of Lords, would then need to scrutinize it, but do not have the power to block it.

First, though, lawmakers were to vote on a Labour amendment calling for it to be held on Dec. 9.

Labour lawmaker Cat Smith said the earlier date would mean more students could vote because universities would not have begun their Christmas holidays.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden said the 12th was preferable because it gave lawmakers a few more days to finish up parliamentary business, and retained Britain’s tradition of holding elections on Thursdays.

Earlier, a last-minute hitch to the government’s plans emerged when opposition parties announced plans to try to amend the terms of an early election to lower the voting age from 18 to 16 and expand the voting base to include citizens of the 27 other EU nations who are living in Britain.

The government said it would abandon the bill if that plan succeeded. In the end the amendments were not chosen for a vote by parliamentary authorities.

Conservative lawmaker Tobias Ellwood said the amendments would have fundamentally altered the legislation and were “beyond the scope of this bill.”

He said proposals to expand the franchise were “something that I don’t think the country has had a debate about, important though it might be.”

Johnson took office in July vowing to “get Brexit done” after his predecessor, Theresa May, resigned in defeat. But the Conservative leader, who said just weeks ago that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than postpone the Oct. 31 Brexit date, was forced by Parliament to seek the extension in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would damage the economies of both Britain and the EU.

European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted Tuesday that the EU had formally approved the extension, and added, pointedly — “It may be the last one. Please make the best use of this time.”

Johnson plans to campaign as a leader who has a viable, strong Brexit plan for the country but who has been stymied by an anti-democratic opposition and a bureaucratic EU.

On Tuesday, he accused opponents of betraying voters’ decision to leave the EU. He declared that without an early election, the British government would be like the cartoon character Charlie Brown, “endlessly running up to kick the ball only to have Parliament whisk it away.”

An election is a risk, though, not only for Johnson’s Conservatives but also for Labour. Opinion polls currently give Johnson’s Conservatives a lead over Labour, but there’s a strong chance that an election could produce a Parliament as divided over Brexit as the current one. And the last time a Conservative government called an early election, in 2017, it backfired, and the party lost its majority in Parliament.

Voters are weary of politicians from all sides after more than three years of Brexit drama, and all the parties are worried about a backlash from grumpy voters asked to go to the polls at the darkest, coldest time of the year.

“We all know that a poll in December is less than ideal,” said Pete Wishart, a lawmaker with the opposition Scottish National Party. “But it is worth that risk in order that we remove this prime minister.”

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