Parliament deals British PM Brexit blow before suspension

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seen at a joint news conference Monday with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin. Johnson has suffered a rough couple of weeks as lawmakers scuttled first his attempt to maintain a hard Brexit deadline — then

Last week, British MPs rejected a motion tabled by Johnson to dissolve the Parliament and call for a snap election on October 15 after the opposition backed the bill aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit, causing a huge headache to the government, which is now without a working majority.

Boris Johnson is enduring another hard day in parliament with MPs having passed a motion that compels the government to release sensitive Brexit documents and communications.

Then, early Tuesday, lawmakers rebuffed, for a second time, Johnson's request for an early election, which he said was "the only way to break the deadlock in the House".

MPs were voting on the measure after Dominic Grieve - who was expelled from the Conservative party last week - proposed a vote to force the government to release its no-deal Brexit planning, known as operation Yellowhammer, and all communication between nine political advisers in regard to the prorogation of parliament.

The opposition leader also criticized the prime minister for suspending parliament, labelling the move undemocratic and accusing him of cowardice for not facing scrutiny or accountability for his efforts to try to force a no-deal Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour, said that the prime minister has confirmed that he will not follow the Brexit delay law.

The Cabinet Manual, which sets out the laws, rules and conventions on the operation of government, says if the prime minister resigns on behalf of the government Queen Elizabeth will invite the person who appears most likely to be able to command the confidence of lawmakers to serve as prime minister and form a government.

Johnson and Varadkar said they had "a positive and constructive meeting", but there was no breakthrough on the issue of the Irish border, the main stumbling block to a Brexit deal.

Johnson's comments came just hours after Parliament was prorogued at the request of the government until October 14.

SEND TWO LETTERS The law, which came into force on Monday, specifies the exact wording of the letter that Johnson has to send to the European Union, but it does not exclude the possibility of sending a second letter setting out a different position.

Johnson's defiance has prompted an unprecedented battle in the House of Commons, where he has lost every vote since becoming Prime Minister in July. Determined to move forward, Johnson said he planned to ask lawmakers to back a general election with the hope of winning majority support to back his Brexit strategy. Ministers have also hinted at a potential legal challenge against the law.

That deal has been rejected by parliament three times, and trashed by Johnson - largely because of a clause relating to arrangements on the Irish border after Brexit.


An opposition-backed law compelling the government to seek a three-month delay from the European Union if no deal has been agreed by October 19 became law Monday after receiving royal assent.

"Well, Mr. Speaker, we are not falling for it", he said, warning Johnson that his days in office "are numbered".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks towards a podium to speak to the media outside 10 Downing Street in London.

He accused the opposition of running from their duties to the electorate to have a vote.

"If MPs want to resolve this there is an easy way - vote for an election today and let the public decide".

In an election, the hard-liners would seek to capitalize on sentiment that lawmakers are thwarting the will of the voters, who approved a referendum in 2016 to leave the EU.

"We are open to alternatives, but they must be realistic ones, legally binding and workable, and we haven't received such proposals to date".

Eurosceptics dislike Bercow for a perceived anti-Brexit bias, but he has been praised by supporters for sticking up for parliament's right to have a say in the tortuous Brexit process.

The turmoil deepened when Bercow announced that he will step down by October 31 at the latest - with a few shots aimed at the government in his speech.

"Throughout my time as speaker, I have sought to increase the relative authority of this legislature, for which I will make absolutely no apology", he said.

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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