Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 September 2019

Brexit live updates: Bill that could block no-deal passed by MPs and calls for early election dismissed

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffers third defeat in 24 hours as plans for snap election are rejected

Britain's MPs have taken control of the parliamentary agenda away from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. AFP
Britain's MPs have taken control of the parliamentary agenda away from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. AFP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government was in limbo on Wednesday after MPs voted to derail his Brexit plan and rejected his call for an early election to break the political deadlock.

Six weeks after taking office, Mr Johnson lost his majority in the House of Commons as his own MPs joined opposition parties to stop him taking Britain out of the EU next month without a deal.

On Wednesday evening, they approved a bill that could force him to delay Brexit until January or even later if he cannot agree to exit terms with Brussels in time.

Mr Johnson says he does not want a "no-deal" exit on October 31 but says he must keep that option open to get an agreement.

He said the bill, which was being debated in the House of Lords into the night, "destroys the ability of government to negotiate".

Mr Johnson said he had no option to call an election to win a new mandate.

"If I'm still prime minister after (the vote on) Tuesday, October 15, then we will leave on October 31 with, I hope, a much better deal," he told MPs.

But in yet another twist in the tortuous Brexit process, the opposition Labour Party refused to vote for the election, which requires the backing of two thirds of MPs.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that while he wanted an election, he would not support the prime minister's "cynical" call until the law blocking a no-deal Brexit was in place.

The default legal position is that Britain will leave the EU on October 31 unless it delays or asks to stay in the bloc.

For now, Mr Johnson is unable to pursue his Brexit plan, wjhich is the central focus of his leadership, or call an election that might change the situation.

The bill is now being debated in the House of Lords and needs to pass in both houses to become law.

If passed, it could be given royal assent by the Queen and become law on Monday, September 9.

Keep up with all the action as it happens:

UK opposition to block Boris Johnson’s call for early election

Boris Johnson loses control as MPs seize Brexit agenda

Pound recovers after MPs secure right to table to bills blocking no-deal Brexit

Updated: September 11, 2019 10:37 AM

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