Published: Fri, September 06, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

In new blow, Boris Johnson's own brother quits government

In new blow, Boris Johnson's own brother quits government

If Mr Johnson accepted the Labour leader's demands of blocking Brexit before the vote, he would enter a general election without his greatest electoral trump card - the promise to deliver a Brexit "do or die" by the end of October.

Experts on voter turnout say the surge in registrations could be partially linked to students who are registering in new locations as they begin school, but the high numbers reported on Monday and Tuesday-compared with the average daily registration of 27,000 in recent weeks-gave hope to the critics of Johnson's plan and leadership.

Less than an hour after Jo Johnson's announcement another Conservative MP, Dame Caroline Spelman, declared she would be retiring at the next general election.

Opposition lawmakers, supported by Conservative Party rebels, are close to passing a bill that would block a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31, compelling the prime minister to seek a three-month delay to Britain's departure if no agreement is reached by late October.

Jo Johnson has announced he is quitting as an education minister and will step down from Parliament, saying he is "torn between family loyalty and the national interest".

After wresting control of the lower house of parliament on Wednesday, an alliance of opposition parties and rebels expelled from the Conservative Party voted to force him to seek a three-month delay to Brexit rather than leaving without a deal on October 31, the date now set in law.

The expelled Conservatives include prominent members such as Nicholas Soames, grandson of Winston Churchill, who has served as a member of Parliament for 37 years, and Ken Clarke, the longest-serving member of Parliament.

The Brexit crisis has for three years overshadowed European Union affairs, eroded Britain's reputation as a stable pillar of the West and seen sterling lunge back and forth in line with the probability of a "no-deal" exit.

Nigel Farage calls for early election and alliance with Boris Johnson
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not agree to a General Election until a bill preventing a no deal Brexit was passed. Boris Johnson clashed with Jeremy Corbyn at PMQs.

Jeremy Corbyn, shown, and the Labour Party chided Boris Johnson over his behaviour, and did not agree to a snap election, fearing the government would work to delay the vote until after the current October 31 Brexit deadline passed.

The Conservative prime minister could use the vote of confidence. Johnson has accused Corbyn of cowardice for not facilitating a snap poll.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is used to standing next to a pugnacious, unpredictable leader with no filter and much-studied hair.

The prospect that Britain will have to accept imports of chlorine-washed chicken from the United States in any trade deal between the two has become a symbol of what remainers say will be a weak negotiating position after Brexit. So far, the Labour Party has yet to agree on an election date, leaving Mr. Johnson in limbo.

Political analysts here believe that, if he should win such an election, he may try to repeal the bill that was passed tonight.

European diplomats said an election campaign would halt any Brexit talks with the EU and expressed frustration with the turmoil in British politics at such an important juncture in European history.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr. Johnson also tried to signal that Britain can thrive outside the European Union during a meeting in London with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

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