2 Votes Hand Boris Johnson Good News and Bad News

Brexit is closer, but almost certainly won't happen by Oct. 31
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 22, 2019 2:11 PM CDT
It's Now Almost Impossible for Brexit to Happen by Oct. 31
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks in the House of Commons in London during the debate for the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, Tuesday Oct. 22, 2019.   (Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament via AP)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won one vote and lost another in Parliament on Tuesday, a result that inches him closer to his goal of leading Britain out of the European Union—but effectively guarantees it won't happen on the scheduled date of Oct. 31. The good news for the prime minister was that lawmakers—for the first time since Britons chose in 2016 to leave the EU—voted for a Brexit plan, backing by 329-299 a bill to implement the agreement Johnson struck with the EU last week. But minutes later, legislators rejected his fast-track timetable to pass the bill, saying they needed more time to scrutinize it. The vote went 322-308 against the government. Johnson responded by stopping the legislation dead in its tracks, reports the AP.

He had planned to push it through the House of Commons by Thursday. But he said he would "pause" the legislation until the EU had decided whether to agree to delay Britain's departure. With the Brexit deadline looming and British politicians still squabbling over the country's departure terms, Johnson was forced to ask the EU for a three-month delay to Britain's departure date. He did that, grudgingly, to comply with a law passed by Parliament ordering the government to postpone Brexit rather than risk the economic damage that could come from a no-deal exit. European Council President Donald Tusk said earlier Tuesday that EU leaders "will decide in coming days" whether to grant Britain that extension, which would be the third.

(Read more Brexit stories.)

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