Published: Thu, September 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

On Brexit, British PM stymied by rebels from his own party

On Brexit, British PM stymied by rebels from his own party

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pushing for a new general election after losing a historic vote in Parliament on Tuesday evening to block a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson's Conservative government has suffered two blows in the Commons as MPs rejected his call to vote for an early general election.

"He added: "[Mr Johnson] must accept the will of this House, accept the bill that Parliament has passed, accept your duty as prime minister and go to the European Council on 17 October and negotiate the extension you have been instructed to deliver".

Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports from London.

Mr Johnson took office in July, three years after the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union, promising to deliver Brexit whatever happens.

Lee had made a decision to quit the party - arguing "it has increasingly become the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism" - joining the opposition Liberal Democrats, in a strikingly visible act of rebellion.

The manoeuvrs are part of a head-on showdown between Johnson's Brexit-at-all-costs administration and a Parliament anxious about the economic and social damage that could be wrought by a messy divorce. Many fear leaving the European Union without a deal in place could create severe economic problems.

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"Discussions so far have shown that the two sides remain some distance apart on key issues but are willing to work hard to find a way through", he said.

All 21 "rebel" Tory MPs who defied the whip and voted against the Government last night were kicked out of the party and will not be allowed to stand as Conservatives at the next election. He said the British government was making substantial progress and would succeed in removing the Irish border backstop. A new election would set the stage for a brutal battle over whether voters favor a "no-deal" Brexit, more negotiations, or possibly a fresh referendum on the entire question of leaving the EU. "Where are the proposals?" the Labour leader said.

An October election would open up three likely options: a Brexit-supporting government under Johnson, a Labour government led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn or a hung parliament that could lead to a coalition or minority government of some kind.

Mr Corbyn said the negotiations Johnson talked about "are a sham - all he's doing is running down the clock". His government lost its working majority as one Conservative lawmaker defected to the opposition, and more than 20 Tory legislators sided with the opposition on the vote.

Johnson retaliated and expelled from his own party all the MP's who crossed him, including Winston Churchill's grandson Nicholas Soames. "I never said that".

The beleaguered United Kingdom leader got a boost Wednesday when a Scottish court refused to intervene in his decision to suspend Parliament, ruling it was a matter for lawmakers to decide, not the courts. 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. A human rights campaigner has sued in Northern Ireland, arguing that the historic Good Friday peace accord is in jeopardy because of Johnson's actions.

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