British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday suffered a setback after the Parliament approved his Brexit withdrawal plan in principle, and, minutes later, rejected his second bill that would have fast-tracked the necessary legislation in time for the October 31 deadline, Reuters reported.
“I must express my disappointment that the House has yet again voted for delay,” Johnson told Parliament. He said the next step would be to wait for the European Union to respond to a request to delay the deadline. “The EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay,” he said. “The government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome.”
“I will speak to EU member states about their intentions, until they have reached a decision we will pause this legislation,” Johnson added. “Let me be clear, our policy remains that we should not delay.”
EU Council President Donald Tusk recommended that the leaders of the remaining 27 member states approve the delay. “In order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension,” he tweeted. The European Union is yet to formally respond to Johnson’s unsigned letter asking for more time.
The leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, called on Johnson to work with other parties to ensure a reasonable timetable to discuss the deal.
Ahead of the vote, the prime minister said he would end an attempt to win Parliamentary approval for his Brexit legislation and instead push for a general election if lawmakers reject his timetable. “If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead, gets its way and decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer, in those circumstances ... with great regret I must say that the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward ... to a general election.”
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