Sunday, 22 September, 2019

British parliament blocks no-deal but Johnson says Brexit will happen

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson puts forward a motion for an early general election in the House of Commons in London on September 9 Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking as he put forward a motion for an early general election in the House of Commons
Patty Aguilar | 10 September, 2019, 12:50

After MPs rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson's second bid to call an early election to solve the Brexit impasse, he is left in limbo heading towards a crucial European Union summit next month, just days before Britain's scheduled exit.

Earlier this evening, MPs voted for ministers to release correspondence relating to the suspension of Parliament and no-deal Brexit plans codenamed Operation Yellowhammer.

Mr Johnson meanwhile made reference to the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom, calling it the "densest, most intricate, most vital relationship in the world", and acknowledged that Brexit was something that Ireland had never asked for, describing it as "a conundrum".

"If you really want to delay Brexit beyond October the 31st, which is what you seem to want to do, then vote for an election and let the people decide if they want a delay or not", Johnson told Members of Parliament as he implored them to call an election.

Before parliament is suspended, the Benn bill is expected to receive royal assent, which means Johnson should be forced to request an extension to the Brexit deadline until January 2020 if there is no deal agreed by 19 October.

Mr Johnson said Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn had become the first leader of the opposition in the country's history to "show his confidence" in the government "by declining the opportunity to have an election with a view to removing the government".

In the first of the day's blows to Johnson, an opposition-backed measure created to stop Britain from crashing out of the European Union on October 31 without a divorce deal became law after receiving the formal assent of Queen Elizabeth II.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Dublin today to speak with Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar regarding Brexit and the uncertainty which surrounds it.

Johnson's decision to prorogue - suspend - the parliament until October 14 was also challenged in courts in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Mr Corbyn replied saying he did want an election and accused the Prime Minister of shutting down Parliament to avoid scrutiny.

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow announces he will stand down by 31 October
Commons Speaker John Bercow announcing he will step down

MPs voted 293 to 46, short of the 434 needed - marking the new prime minister's sixth Commons defeat.

But his support soon faded after Johnson appeared next to his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, and said he was still seeking a divorce deal to ensure an "orderly" British withdrawal from the EU.

They say Johnson is also yet to propose the details of any workable alternatives.

The Conservative-supporting Daily Telegraph, of which Johnson was recently the highest-paid columnist, has focussed on Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow's decision to stand down on the same day Brexit is delivered.

But opposition parties say they will vote the measure down, because they want to make sure a no-deal departure is blocked before agreeing to an election.

"This government will press on with negotiating a deal, while preparing to leave without one", he told parliament.

"We degrade this parliament at our peril", he warned lawmakers, to a sustained standing ovation from largely opposition MPs.

"They now won't have time to have an election before October 31 because they have [suspended] parliament", Alan Wager, of the Changing Europe Initiative at King's College London, told Al Jazeera. "This government will not delay Brexit any further", he said.

A source close to the so-called "Rebel Alliance" opposing a no-deal Brexit suggested MPs could refuse to leave the parliamentary estate, and the leaders of Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords boycotted the formal prorogation ceremony.

Throughout the three years since Britain voted to leave the EU, Bercow has angered the Conservative government by repeatedly allowing lawmakers to seize control of Parliament's agenda to steer the course of Brexit.

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