Stinging defeats leave UK PM Boris Johnson's Brexit plans in tatters

Published: Sep 06, 2019, 11:55 IST | Agencies

Boris fails to get his motion for a snap poll through the House of Commons; his younger brother Jo quits as a Cabinet minister and as a parliamentarian

Stinging defeats leave UK PM Boris Johnson's Brexit plans in tatters
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Pic /AFP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's hard-line Brexit strategy stood in tatters on Thursday after a humiliating week left him without a working majority but unable to call an election.

His supporters ended a night-long filibuster in the upper House of Lords when the government gave up trying to block a measure designed to stop a no-deal Brexit by forcing Boris to seek a delay if he fails to reach an agreement with Brussels. Parliament has now dealt Boris a rapid series of stinging defeats that have left him a weakened leader just six weeks into his term.

However, the government said on Thursday the members of parliament will get another chance to vote for an early election on Monday. The move comes after the House of Commons rejected Boris's plan for a snap election on October 15 in a vote on Wednesday. Johnson wants a poll on October 15 in order to stick to the October 31 Brexit deadline.

The government failed in its bid to call an election despite winning a vote in the House of Commons because it was made under a 2011 law that requires the support of two-thirds of members of parliament.

There is speculation that ministers could try to force an election via an alternative route, for example by introducing a short piece of legislation that would only require a simple majority of parliamentarians to pass.

Boris received an endorsement on Wednesday from US President Donald Trump — a key international supporter.

"Boris knows how to win. Don't worry about him. He's going to be ok," Trump told reporters. The law approved by MPs and being debated in the House of Lords, would force the government to request a three-month delay to Brexit if it has not reached a deal by October 19 -- two days after an EU summit.

'Family vs nation'

Boris suffered yet another Brexit blow, as his younger brother Jo Johnson quit as a minister in his Cabinet and also resigned as a parliamentarian of the Conservative Party. The anti-Brexiteer, who is seen as an India-friendly politician in the UK having also lived there in his previous role as a journalist for `The Financial Times', said he felt the tensions were "unresolvable".

"In recent weeks I've been torn between family loyalty and the national interest — it's an irresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP and Minister," he said in a Twitter statement, which concluded with "over and out".

September 9
British MPs to vote again for early election

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