Published: Wed, September 04, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

A Conservative MP's defection just cost Boris Johnson his parliamentary majority

A Conservative MP's defection just cost Boris Johnson his parliamentary majority

At Tuesday's vote, rebel MPs will try to take control of the parliamentary agenda, block a no-deal Brexit and extend the Brexit deadline to at least the end of January 2020.

Johnson could also seek a snap general election next month if he does not get his way - which would be the U.K.'s third general vote in three years.

A new poll would need the approval of Parliament, but pro-Remain MPs said the priority should be to stop no deal. Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party was ready for an election.

Members of Johnson's own Conservative party, including Philip Hammond, are preparing to join opposition lawmakers in a vote to try to force a delay to Britain's exit from the European Union if he can not secure a divorce deal with Brussels in the next few weeks.

A cross-party alliance defeated Boris Johnson in parliament on Tuesday in a bid to prevent him taking Britain out of the European Union without a divorce agreement - prompting the prime minister to announce that he would immediately push for a snap election. Parliament returned to session for the first time since the prime minister moved to suspend the lawmaking body, beginning around September 9 and leaving it in recess until October 14 - or for more than half the weeks remaining before Johnson's deadline.

The slide came ahead of Parliament meeting this week to decide how the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and reflected fears of further Brexit chaos and a potential election next month.

He said the move by opposition MPs and members of his Conservative Party to try to delay Brexit beyond October 31 if he can not agree exit terms with Brussels was like "running up the white flag".

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"The prime minister has lost his majority with the honorable member from Bracknell joining the Liberal Democrats", she said on the chamber floor, adding: "When will the prime minister stop playing with people's lives and stop Brexit?"

The former London mayor took over as premier in July promising to finally deliver on the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit, after his predecessor Theresa May delayed exit day twice.

Ahead of a first vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday evening, Johnson said: "There are no circumstances in which I will ever accept anything like it".

Rebels within Johnson's own party are threatening to force the government to seek a further extension of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

On a day of high drama, an Edinburgh court also heard a legal challenge against Johnson's decision to suspend parliament next week for more than a month. Not counting the brief slide in the autumn of 2016, in which the currency fell around 6% in a matter of minutes before recovering, the pound is now at its lowest level since 1985.

But in his public statement, Johnson insisted this was something "I don't want and you don't want".

If Johnson's opponents vote against the government on Tuesday and then do not immediately vote in favour of holding an election, then there is a chance for legislation that would delay Brexit. "Prime Minister Johnson has always intended that there will be an election".

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