UK: MPs reject snap general election


Britain is facing weeks of growing uncertainty after Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his second bid to trigger an early election, forcing him either to negotiate a deal with the European Union or to confront the prospect of breaking the law in order to fulfill his pledge of leaving the EU on October 31.

Although 293 MPs voted in favour, with 46 against, it was short of the 434 needed for an election to be called in an early morning Commons vote.

Early Tuesday, lawmakers rebuffed, for a second time, Johnson's request for an early election, which he said was "the only way to break the deadlock in the House".

Legislators have demanded the government release, by Wednesday, emails and text messages among aides and officials relating to suspending Parliament and planning for Brexit amid allegations that the suspension is being used to circumvent democracy.

He plans to press Parliament to back his plan for an early election, with the hope of winning a majority that would back his Brexit strategy, but opposition parties have said they will vote the measure down.

Reacting to the vote result and Johnson's comments, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the prime minister to reveal details of his supposed proposals for negotiations with the European Union, including supposed proposals for the Irish backstop.

"We want an election, but we don't want it on the prime minister's terms", he said.

The Irish government has said in recent days that it has always been open to a Northern Ireland specific solution to the border.

The government then shut down Parliament until October 14 as lawmakers in the House of Commons accused Johnson and other conservatives of intentionally trying to stifle debate while holding up signs that read "shame on you". His options - all of them extreme - include disobeying the law, which could land him in court or even prison, and resigning so that someone else would have to ask for a delay.

While the DUP objects to any arrangement that would treat Northern Ireland differently, its voice in the matter has diminished since Johnson has lost his wafer-thin parliamentary majority in the spiraling political turmoil in the United Kingdom and so would be short of votes with or without the party.

Mr Johnson said: "It's plain from the turbulent reaction of the benches opposite that they simply want another delay and I will not have that".

And finally, The Times reflects on a marathon sitting in Parliament, reflecting on the fact the the longest sitting of Parliament yet resulted in yet another humiliation for the new Prime Minister. But opponents called the move anti-democratic and illegal.

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His predecessor, Theresa May, reached an agreement with Brussels previous year but MPs rejected it three times.

"This government will not delay Brexit any further", he insisted.

British MPs also once again rejected Johnson's call for a snap election as a five-week suspension of parliament began.

No prime minister has ever successfully been impeached but Johnson previously supported a bid to impeach former prime minister Tony Blair in 2004.

"I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal", Johnson said in Dublin, adding that there was plenty of time to find one before the October EU summit.

Mr. Varadkar reiterated that position on Monday, telling reporters: "In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us".

"I'm absolutely undaunted by whatever may take place in parliament", Johnson said.

He accused the opposition of running from their duties to the electorate to have a vote.

"We are open to alternatives, but they must be realistic ones, legally binding and workable, and we haven't received such proposals to date".

Mr Johnson said he understood the "conundrum" Brexit has caused for Ireland and the "fantastic political importance and sensitivities of the border".

Deputy speaker Lindsay Hoyle, who is also Labour, and veteran Tory MP Sir Edward Leigh earlier confirmed their intentions to stand.

Britons voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, but after three years of political wrangling, parliament still can not decide how to implement that decision. In a farewell speech, Bercow did not mention the prime minister by name, but took a last dig at Johnson's efforts to limit the powers of one of the world's oldest deliberative bodies.