Boris Johnson Dealt Yet Another Blow

Lawmakers pass Brexit delay bill, deny his call for a new election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 4, 2019 2:23 PM CDT
Updated Sep 4, 2019 4:54 PM CDT
Boris Johnson Calls for Snap Election on Oct. 15
In this image released by the House of Commons, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in the House of Commons, London, Tuesday Sept. 3, 2019.   (Jessica Taylor/House of Commons via AP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called Wednesday for a national election on Oct. 15, saying it was the only way out of the country's Brexit impasse after opposition lawmakers moved to block his plan to leave the European Union next month without a divorce deal. But Parliament delivered Johnson his third defeat in two days, refusing to vote in sufficient numbers for a motion triggering a vote, the AP reports. Johnson indicated he would try again, saying an election was the only way forward, and accusing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of being afraid of the public's judgment. "The obvious conclusion, I'm afraid, is that he does not think he will win," Johnson said. Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a deal, and he accused the opposition of trying to "overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history," referring to the outcome of the 2016 referendum to leave the EU.

In a second straight day of parliamentary turmoil, the House of Commons voted by 327-299 in favor of the bill that would force Johnson to seek a further delay to Brexit rather than leave the EU without a deal, sending it to Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords. But with Johnson set to suspend Parliament for several weeks starting next week, pro-Brexit peers in the Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering until time runs out. Meanwhile, the AP reports that while the day's decisions are of historic importance, the language lawmakers are using has been punctuated with wisecracks, insults, and taunts. During a testy House of Commons debate Wednesday, Johnson accused Corbyn of ducking an election and being "a chlorinated chicken"—a reference to claims the UK will have to lower its food safety standards to get a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. Johnson also appeared to call Corbyn a "great big girl's blouse."

(Read more Brexit stories.)

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