British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to push for a no-deal Brexit suffered a setback today after the country’s parliament passed a bill to delay the Brexit beyond October 31. The motion was voted by 327 votes to 299, giving it a majority of 28 in the Lower House. The bill has now moved to the Upper House.

The Members of Parliament (MPs) opposed to no-deal Brexit are running against time. The bill will require approval of the Parliament’s Upper House, the House of Lords. If Lords pass any amendments, the bill will again return to the Lower House for a vote. The “pro-Brexit peers have tabled over 100 amendments to try and filibuster the motion and stop the bill going ahead,” BBC confirmed. To make matters even worse for the pro-EU lawmakers, Prime Minister Johnson has suspended the parliament for five weeks beginning next week. The parliament will reconvene on October 14, two weeks ahead of the October 31 deadline.

Prime Minister Johnson refused to resign in wake of today’s vote. He, however, reiterated the call for a snap election, a move opposed by the opposition Labour party. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn wants the no-deal option off the table before considering the prospect of facing the electorates.

The government appears to be committed to delivering Brexit regardless of today’s proceedings. “We will find a way to deliver on what the British people want, which is to deliver Brexit by 31 October,” a spokesman for the UK Prime Minister said earlier today. “If the PM cannot get the Bill through Parliament because Parliament is determined to wreck the negotiations, the only other option then is a general election.” The Prime Minister will not step down if the government were to lose the vote in the parliament, the spokesperson added.

BBC reported today’s parliamentary proceedings:

MPs have backed a bill to block a no-deal Brexit, which could trigger Boris Johnson to seek a general election.

Opposition MPs and Tory rebels ensured the bill passed its first stage by 329 votes to 300. If it is passed in full, it will force the PM to ask for an extension beyond the 31 October Brexit deadline if a deal has not been agreed with the EU. (…)

This vote was on the second reading – the parliamentary stage which examines the main principles of the bill – and was the first chance for MPs to show whether they supported the bill.

MPs are now voting on amendments to the bill – put forward by MPs, but chosen by the Deputy Speaker.

At the end of the day it’s a no-deal Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn,” Daniel Finkelstein wrote in the London Times. “Leaving the EU without an agreement will damage the country but it’s still just about preferable to the alternative.

The vote comes weeks after Prime Minister Johnson accused some lawmakers of undermine country’s interests by actively ‘collaborating’ with the hostile European Union. “There’s a terrible collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in parliament and our European friends,” Prime Minister Johnson said on August 15. On Tuesday, some 160 pro-EU lawmakers signed the so-called Church House deceleration vowing to “do whatever necessary” to stop no-deal Brexit.

“Parliament is actually the one holding a coup,” columnist Tim Stanley said in the today’s Daily Telegraph. “MPs have voted to take control of the order paper in order to take control of the Brexit negotiating process: they want to rule out a no-deal Brexit, thus completely undermining the Government’s strategy. It’s highly irregular for the Commons to dictate foreign policy like this, let alone on such suicidal terms.”

With today’s bill, the MPs were paving the way for a Corbyn-led government, a scenario worse than the uncertainty of a no-deal Berxit, London Times argued. “At the end of the day it’s a no-deal Brexit or Jeremy Corbyn,” the newspaper commented. “Leaving the EU without an agreement will damage the country but it’s still just about preferable to the alternative.”

Prime Minister Johnson received slight relief today after a Scottish judge ruled in favor of his decision to suspend the parliament. A group of 75 British MPs had approached Scotland’s top civil court to challenge government’s decision to suspend parliament. The lawmakers plan to appeal ruling, the news reports said.

[Cover image via YouTube]


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