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Johnson demands October 15 election after defeat over Brexit

Johnson demands October 15 election after defeat over Brexit
Boris Johnson
LONDON, SEP 4 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 9/4/2019 11:17:15 AM IST

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday demanded an Oct. 15 snap election after lawmakers seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in parliament which he cast as an attempt to surrender to the European Union, reports Reuters.

Parliament’s move leaves Brexit up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal EU exit to abandoning the whole endeavour - both outcomes that would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom’s voters.

An alliance of opposition lawmakers backed by 21 rebels from Johnson’s Conservative Party defeated the government on Tuesday on a motion allowing them to try to pass a law which would force a three-month extension to Britain’s EU exit date.

Johnson vowed never to delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31 and challenged opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree to an Oct. 15 election.

“Can I invite the leader of the opposition to confirm, when he stands up shortly, that if that surrender bill is passed, he will allow the people of this country to have their view on what he is proposing to hand over in their name with an election on October the 15th?” Johnson told parliament.

However, he needs the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers and opposition parties are united in wanting to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to an election.

Johnson said his strategy was to get a Brexit deal by an EU summit on Oct. 17 and “get Brexit done”. He said the British government was making substantial progress and would succeed in removing the Irish border backstop.

The showdown between prime minister and parliament continues on Wednesday, including a vote on the attempt to block no deal.

Finance minister Sajid Javid told parliament he was “turning the page on austerity” as he promised the biggest spending increases in 15 years, a move widely seen as part of the government’s push for an election.

As the three-year Brexit crisis approaches a crescendo, the United Kingdom was edging towards an election as most British politicians see no other way to break the impasse.

The government has scheduled a vote on an election after about 1800 GMT on Wednesday, but Labour lawmakers said they wanted the block on a no-deal Brexit implemented before any election.

Sterling jumped 1% against the dollar to trade above $1.22 for the first time since Aug. 30.


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