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Image / Editorial

Now what? The latest on Brexit and last night’s parliamentary vote


By Grace McGettigan
04th Sep 2019

Boris Johnson

Now what? The latest on Brexit and last night’s parliamentary vote

Boris Johnson

Confused about what’s happening in the UK? Here’s the latest on Brexit, as well as what last night’s parliamentary vote actually means


Boris Johnson has just lost a significant vote in parliament – not to mention the support of more than a dozen fellow-Tories.

British MPs were asked to vote on whether or not to ‘take control of the agenda’. If they voted in favour, it would mean the Brexit date could be pushed back from October 31 to January 31, allowing additional time to form a deal with Europe.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the MPs against this course of action; with threats they would lose themselves the party whip. He also threatened a snap general election; insisting he will not extend the date of Brexit, whether there’s a deal or not.

When it came down to it, the MPs voted 328 to 301 to take control of the agenda. This included 21 Tory MPs (members of Jonhson’s own Conservative Party), who are now being referred to as the ‘Tory Rebels’.

What’s next?

Those who rebelled against the government will now be expelled from the party.

While these rebels have effectively sacrificed their political careers, they did so for an important reason. Speaking to BBC Newsnight after the vote, ‘Tory Rebel’ Ken Clarke said he no longer recognised his party; adding how the cabinet was more “right-wing” than ever before.

Now, as MPs have taken control of the agenda, they will strive to pass ‘Benn’s bill’ by Friday, which will force a Brexit extension. They also have the option to approve a ‘no-deal Brexit’ by October 19. Both options will be debated in Parliament today.

However, Boris Johnson said he will not, under any circumstances, accept Benn’s bill. He said if MPs vote to pass the bill, effectively delaying Brexit, he will seek to hold a snap general election in October.

“I don’t want an election. The public doesn’t want an election. But if the House votes for this bill tomorrow, the public will have to choose who goes to Brussels on October 17 to sort this out and take this country forward,” Johnson said.

For a general election to go ahead, Johnson must have the backing of at least two-thirds of MPs. At present, with his own party already turning against him, it’s uncertain whether this will go ahead.

UPDATE:

Boris Johnson did not win enough support from MPs for a general election to go ahead (not in the immediate future, at any rate). This comes as another blow to the newly promoted prime minister.

What’s more, his brother, Jo Johnson, has just announced he is stepping down from his post as an MP. Jo Johnson said, “In recent weeks I’ve been torn between family loyalty and the national interest – it’s an unresolvable tension”.

Photo: Boris Johnson, Twitter


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