British parliament faced a dramatic Brexit vote Saturday and chose, by a slim margin, to seek further delay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new deal with the EU appeared "tantalizingly close" to passing when a delay amendment brought by an ousted member of his Conservative Party passed by 322 to 306—just 16 votes, the Guardian reports. The amendment requires that Johnson ask the EU for an extension if he can't get his plan approved by 11pm local time. For more:
- Lack of meaning: "Alas, the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has effectively been passed up," said Boris in parliament after the delay vote passed, per CNN. "The meaningful vote has been voided of meaning."
- What law? Boris also said he might also ignore the delay amendment. "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so," he said. "Further delay will be bad for this country."
- Letwin: Even Oliver Letwin, the veteran MP who put forth the amendment, said he favored Johnson's new EU deal, per Sky News. "I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on 31 October," he says.
- So why the amendment? It's based on the Benn Act, a law passed last month that requires Johnson to request the extension if he can't get parliamentary approval by Saturday. The BBC says it's meant to keep hard-liners from forcing a no-deal Brexit. Letwin calls it an "insurance policy ... which prevents us from crashing out automatically."
- What now? According to Sky News, Downing Street will hope that "the EU, tired of endless delay, will only grant the UK a short 'technical' extension of weeks not months. If that happens, the PM could still see his Brexit deal pushed through by the end of the year."
- Marchers: Tens of thousands of protesters marched in London on Saturday against Johnson's deal—many of them seeking a second referendum, per the New York Times.
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