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Brexit extension announced as Boris Johnson pushes for December election: live updates

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Boris Johnson's push for an election on Thursday December 12 looks doomed to fail tonight.

With the Labour Party set to oppose the push, Johnson won't get close to the two-thirds majority of MPs needed to force an early poll.

But he'll be handed a reprieve tomorrow, with the Liberal Democrats and the SNP set to support a one-line bill, which would overrule the current Fixed Term Parliaments Act and need a simple majority to pass.

The Lib Dems' plan is for a Monday December 9 election, and there is speculation that Downing Street may try to force the poll into the middle of the week -- perhaps Tuesday December 10 or Wednesday December 11.

But why does any of this matter? What difference does a couple of days make?

Well, though the parties aren't publicly delving into the reasons behind their preferences, there are a few conclusions that can be drawn.

It seems clear, for example, that Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP would prefer an earlier date to help them attract the student vote. Most university terms end the week of the proposed election, meaning young people registered to vote in their college towns will have gone home for the holidays.

Jeremy Corbyn's surprising surge at the 2017 election had much to do with the student vote, with Labour outperforming expectations in university towns across the country. In an interview with ITV on Friday, he admitted that the student factor was one of the reasons he opposed the government's proposed date.

And with young people far more likely to oppose Brexit and support left-leaning parties, opposition parties would be far more likely to want to boost their vote than the government.

Another cause for concern across all parties is the proximity of the election date to Christmas Day. It's a tougher sell than usual to get voters to the polls on a cold, dark December evening in the middle of a busy social period.

So expect some squabbles over exactly when a vote will take place over the next few hours, as the country inches towards a pre-Christmas poll.