Delay looms after Johnson wins one vote, loses another
Johnson, who earlier in the day said he would withdraw the bill if he lost the timetable motion and go for a general election, said after losing that he would “pause” it and discuss with EU leaders the next course of action.Updated: Oct 23, 2019 08:17 IST
The Brexit date of October 31 is all set to be delayed yet again after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday lost a key vote in parliament that would have allowed the UK to leave the EU on schedule, but managed to win another vote that approved the initial stage of the Brexit bill.
The Johnson government wanted the House of Commons to scrutinise the bill and pass it in three days, which was rejected by 322 to 308 votes.
But the government won another crucial vote in which the bill was approved in principle, by 329 to 299 votes.
Johnson, who earlier in the day said he would withdraw the bill if he lost the timetable motion and go for a general election, said after losing that he would “pause” it and discuss with EU leaders the next course of action.
The British prime minister has already sought an extension to the October 31 deadline from Brussels.
The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, is consulting EU leaders about Britain’s request to delay Brexit until January 31, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said on Tuesday.
The British PM said, “We should not overlook the significance of this moment… (but) I must express my disappointment that the House has voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK could leave (the EU) on October 31 with a deal.”
He added, “We now face further uncertainty. The EU must now make up their mind on how to answer parliament’s request for a delay. The government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome. Until the EU has reached a decision, we will pause this legislation.”
UK Parliament set to resume debate
The parliament will resume its debate on the government’s legislative programme on Wednesday, the leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Tuesday.