British lawmakers vote to block no-deal Brexit amid election haggling

Andrew Cummings
September 4, 2019

And the Prime Minister warned that any of his own backbench MPs who may be tempted to vote for the Bill will be expelled from the Conservative party and prevented from standing again in elections.

Lawmakers voted 328 to 301 to take control of parliamentary business in order to debate a bill on Wednesday that would prevent Johnson from taking the United Kingdom out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement on October 31.

Mr Johnson said Parliament is "on the brink of wrecking any deal" with Brussels after voting to give the cross-party alliance control of the Commons.

In a sign of the government's determination, finance minister Sajid Javid will also on Wednesday unveil another £2 billion (2.2 billion euros, $2.4 billion) of funding to deal with Brexit, including for new port infrastructure.

The House of Commons will only begin debating the legislation asking the European Union for an extension later Wednesday, and even if this passes, it will need to be approved by the House of Lords, Britain's upper parliamentary chamber, where members could delay its adoption by simply tabling a limitless number of amendments; no less than 90 amendments have already been registered in the Lords.

"It feels a little bit like something you associate with other countries - one opposes the leader, one loses the leadership race, no longer in the cabinet and now apparently thrown out of the party and one's seat too", he said. Corbyn for his part has said he would back the election if a full Brexit was blocked first, essentially undermining the whole point of having an election in the first place.

Many lawmakers, including several in Johnson's Conservative party, are concerned that crashing out without a deal would be disastrous for Britain's economy and lead to medicine, food and fuel shortages.

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.

In a freaky twist MPs approved an amendment resurrecting Theresa May's Brexit deal - possibly by accident.

A Scottish court ruled in Johnson's favour in the parliament suspension case, saying Johnson's decision is lawful and not for judges to decide.

On the BBC after the vote, Soames sounded as stoic as his grandfather: "That's fortunes of war", he said.

But Mr Corbyn said the PM was "running down the clock" on a no-deal Brexit and "hiding the facts" about the likelihood of food and medicine shortages. I knew what I was doing.

Johnson took office in July, three years after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, promising to deliver Brexit whatever happens. Opposition lawmakers, supported by rebels in Johnson's Conservative Party, planned to fast-track a law that would block a no-deal departure, amid cries from lawmakers that it would cause irreparable harm.

Johnson caused widespread anger among parliamentarians last week with his decision to drastically reduce the number of days MPs will be able to meet before the Brexit deadline in what was seen as a move to try to curb his opponents.

The government lost its majority on Tuesday when one of its MPs - Dr Phillip Lee - quit the Conservatives to join the Liberal Democrats.

Labour Party officials also said they need a guarantee that the election would be held before October 31, to prevent a no deal Brexit from happening by default on that day.

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