- Members of the UK Parliament vote to delay holding a vote on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.
- The Prime Minister had brought forward a vote on the deal he agreed with EU leaders this week.
- However, former Conservative MPs joined with opposition parties to block the vote until after Johnson has brought forward the legislation required to implement his deal.
- The move was designed to prevent Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU at the end of October without a deal agreed by Parliament.
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Boris Johnson will be forced to ask the EU to delay Brexit, after Members of Parliament voted against holding a vote to approve his deal with the EU.
The House of Commons had been due to vote on Saturday afternoon on whether to approve the deal Johnson agreed this week with European leaders.
However, Members of Parliament instead voted by 322 to 306 votes for an amendment which delays the vote on Johnson’s deal until after Johnson has passed the deal into UK law.
Responding to the vote, Johnson said he regretted that “alas, the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has effectively been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning.”
This means that Johnson will now be legally obliged to write to the EU requesting another delay to Brexit, under the terms of a law passed last month by opposition MPs.
However, Johnson insisted “I will not negotiate a delay with the EU” and would tell EU leaders he does not want to extend Brexit, even if he has to write a letter to them.
“Further delay would be bad for this country, bad for our European Union, and bad for democracy,” the prime minister said.
Welcoming the result, opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn described it as “an emphatic decision by this house that has declined to support the prime minister’s deal and clearly voted to stop a no-deal crash-out from the European Union.”
He called on Johnson to withdraw his refusal to negotiate a delay,” saying “the Prime Minister must now comply with the law.”
A spokesperson for the prime minister refused to say whether he would send the letter but told journalists that “the government complies with the law.”
The House of Commons Speaker John Bercow told MPs that he would be willing to write a letter on the prime minister’s behalf if he were required to do so.
Watch Boris Johnson: I will not negotiate Brexit delay
—Sky News (@SkyNews) October 19, 2019
The prime minister had pleaded with Conservative MP Oliver Letwin, who brought forward the amendment, to withdraw it in order to allow a parliamentary vote on his deal.
However, Letwin insisted that the amendment was required as an “insurance policy” in order to prevent Johnson’s government from taking the UK out of the EU after the Brexit deadline of October 31.
A Downing Street source insisted that the vote meant that “the government will step up no deal preparations immediately.”
Johnson’s government now intends to bring forward another vote on his deal, due to take place on Monday.
Will the EU approve another Brexit delay
EU leaders are not keen on another delay to Brexit, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying earlier this week that he saw no need for a further “prolongation.”
The French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke out against another extension on Friday, saying he saw no reason why one should take place.
However, EU leaders have yet to rule one out, with European Council President Donald Tusk saying on Thursday that European leaders would consider any request for another delay.
The Vice President of the European Parliament also signaled on Thursday that a request would ultimately be approved in order to prevent “a no deal scenario.”
One senior EU source told Business Insider this week that “I do know that there will be [a Brexit extension] offered if vote goes down Saturday.”
However, EU leaders may choice to delay any response until after Johnson has put his Brexit Withdrawal Agreement legislation to a vote, expected to take place on Tuesday