Wednesday 18 September 2019

Boris Johnson to table motion for general election after MPs vote to block no-deal Brexit

  • Spectre of a no-deal Brexit has receded after the UK Government was defeated in a historic vote tonight
  • Johnson said if MPs vote to delay Brexit then an election will be called immediately
  • More than a dozen Conservative MPs defied Johnson in vote - they will now have the whip removed
  • Latest turn of events are being closely watched by the Irish government and the EU
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

IRELAND has been thrown a Brexit lifeline after MPs voted to seize control of the House of Commons from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The spectre of a no-deal Brexit has receded after the UK Government was defeated in a historic vote tonight.

MPs voted in favour of allowing a cross-party alliance to take control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31 by 328 votes to 301, with a majority 27.

It means opposition parties will tomorrow move legislation aimed at delaying Brexit until the end of January so that a deal can be agreed.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS

Mr Johnson immediately rose to his feet to declare that the result would have consequences.

He said parliament was "on the brink of wrecking any deal" with Brussels.

He said if MPs vote to delay Brexit then an election will be called immediately – although it is unclear whether Mr Johnson will even be able achieve that given the lack of support he now enjoys.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Chief Whip is speaking with those Tory MPs who did not vote with the Government this evening. They will have the whip removed."

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg reclining on his seat in the House of Commons London. PA Wire
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg reclining on his seat in the House of Commons London. PA Wire

Boris Johnson has cast the challenge to his authority as an attempt to force Britain to surrender to the EU.

"It is a bill that, if passed, would force me to go to Brussels and beg an extension. It would force me to accept the terms offered. It would destroy any chance of negotiation for a new deal," he said earlier.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg reclining on his seat in the House of Commons London. PA Wire
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg reclining on his seat in the House of Commons London. PA Wire

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told parliament that Johnson's was a government with "no mandate, no morals and, as of today, no majority".

More than a dozen Conservative MPs defied Mr Johnson and voted to help stall a no-deal. Mr Johnson warned that they would be stripped of the party whip and taken off the Conservative Party election ticket.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons, London after MPs voted in favour of allowing a cross-party alliance to take control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31. PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons, London after MPs voted in favour of allowing a cross-party alliance to take control of the Commons agenda on Wednesday in a bid to block a no-deal Brexit on October 31. PA Wire

The latest turn of events are being closely watched by the Irish government and the EU.

Sources say they have always been sceptical about Mr Johnson’s efforts to secure a new deal.

The prime minister said he will accept nothing less than the dumping of the backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement.

The backstop is an assurance on regulatory alignment that will allow the Irish border to remain open.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Roger Harris/Handout via REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on at the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019. ©UK Parliament/Roger Harris/Handout via REUTERS

DUP leader Arlene Foster, whose party props up the UK government, said the result of the Brexit referendum result needs to be respected.

"Focus on getting a sensible deal rather than playing games. Those tying the Government’s hands are really trying to cancel Brexit. We will fight any election on defending the Union and our record of delivery," she said.

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