UK MPs to vote on blocking no-deal Brexit

Friday, 06 Sep, 2019

Former Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to request an extension to the previous Brexit deadline of March 31, and subsequently resigned after the deal she had negotiated with European Union leaders was voted down three times by lawmakers earlier this year.

The government's loss of the crucial vote, dubbed a "showdown" by the British media, is a major blow to the Johnson government's plans of leaving the European Union by the end of October.

Unlike the House of Commons, where amendments can be grouped or voted on in bunches, the Lords debate each amendment individually.

The House of Lords will now take up the legislation.

Johnson's finance minister, Sajid Javid, opened up the possibility of a change to the October 15 date but said the government could strike a renegotiated Brexit deal with Brussels and get it through parliament before October 31.

His promise to withdraw from the 28-member organization has Britain's parliament in an uproar.

But Labour refused to back an election while no deal was still a possibility. That could leave Britain in a permanent state of flux. Politicians and the media have been using the name Brexit for the proposed withdrawal.

Boris Johnson, in his first PMQs, uttered the expletive to describe the main opposition Labour Party's economic plans, describing them as "shit or bust".

But he re-entered government during the summer, after Conservative Party members elected his brother as leader. "If you are going to deliver Brexit at all, try to do it legally, constitutionally and with consent".

The EU said Wednesday it now sees no alternative to the so-called "Irish backstop" in a Brexit withdrawal deal and warned the risk of Britain crashing out without an agreement has increased.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.

But it is unclear whether Johnson has the votes to trigger an election, which needs the approval of two-thirds of the 650 House of Commons lawmakers.

After the vote result was announced, Johnson said that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is the first leader of the opposition in the country to "refuse the invitation to an election".

The outcome of the parliamentary wrangling will be instrumental in how the upcoming election (a matter of when, rather than if, given Johnson's minority in Parliament) plays out. Many critics have called this move anti-democractic.

The 75 parliamentarians behind the legal challenge accused the prime minister of curbing opposition attempts to block his Brexit strategy and bring down his government.

Against his wishes, lawmakers passed a motion that would permit them to push for the law that banned a no-deal Brexit.

The defeat comes the day after MPs defied the government in a preparatory vote on the draft bill on Tuesday evening, when 21 of Johnson's own Conservative lawmakers rebelled. Conservative MP Philip Lee dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats while Johnson was addressing Parliament. Among the rebels was veteran MP Nicholas Soames.

The beleaguered United Kingdom leader got a boost Wednesday when a Scottish court refused to intervene in his decision to suspend Parliament, ruling it was a matter for lawmakers to decide, not the courts. The judge could rule as soon as Wednesday.

Associated Press writers Gregory Katz in London and Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.

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