British MPs have rejected the Prime Minister’s push for a snap election, after the UK’s divorce from the European Union was once again delayed.
Boris Johnson was calling for a December 12 election to get rid of what he has previously labelled a “zombie parliament” that is holding the British people “captive” with its refusal to decide on Brexit legislation.
But just before 6am (Australian eastern daylight time), the proposal was shot down. There were 299 MPs in support of the motion for an early election, well short of the 434 votes Mr Johnson needed.
The Prime Minister said after losing the vote that he would try again to secure a December election with a new bill in parliament.
Boris Johnson says we will "not allow this paralysis to continue"
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) October 28, 2019
Days before the United Kingdom is formally due to leave the EU on October 31, Brexit hangs in the balance, with British politicians still arguing about how, when – or even if – the divorce should take place at all.
Mr Johnson won the top job in July on a “do or die” platform to deliver Brexit by October 31, famously saying he would rather be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit again.
On Monday, however, hopes for the divorce from the bloc were once again dashed when EU member states agreed to grant Britain a three-month delay. British law known as the Benn Act meant the Prime Minister was forced to accept the offer.
The so-called “flextension”, pushing the leave date to January 31 next year, would allow Britain to leave earlier if the withdrawal agreement has been ratified by both sides in time.
EU member states are expected to formalise the decision in writing, European Council President Donald Tusk said.
Brexit had already been delayed twice – from March 29 and April 12 – after Theresa May failed to get her deal through the British parliament.
The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK's request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 28, 2019
The British parliament has indicated preliminary support for the deal, but rejected a three-day ratification timetable proposed by Mr Johnson Johnson last week.
Labour has consistently rejected Mr Johnson’s election call unless a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have joined forces in a bid to trigger a December 9 election.
BBC reports that the draft text of an agreement for the 27 EU ambassadors includes a commitment that the withdrawal agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU cannot be renegotiated in future.
The UK was due to leave the EU on Thursday, but Mr Johnson was required to request an extension from the bloc after Parliament failed to agree to a Brexit deal.