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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.K. House of Commons voted 327-299 on Wednesday to pass a bill forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a Brexit extension rather than take the country out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without a divorce deal.

Why it matters: Less than a day after expelling 21 rebel lawmakers from his own Conservative Party, Johnson saw his government defeated in Parliament for the 2nd consecutive time. Hours later, Parliament rejected Johnson's proposal to hold a general election on Oct. 15, which he hoped could earn him a fresh majority to resolve the Brexit impasse.

  • It's a disastrous start for the new prime minister, who campaigned on a pledge to leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal. No prime minister has lost their first vote in office since 1783 — let alone their first 3.
  • The opposition Labour Party said it would not back an election until the bill ruling out a no-deal is enshrined in law. It has to pass through Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, for that to happen.

The tension: Lawmakers from across Parliament, including the ones expelled from the Conservative Party yesterday, view it as their moral obligation to stop a no-deal Brexit, which experts warn could cause food and drug shortages, a "shock" to the economy and possibly the outbreak of violence in Northern Ireland.

  • Johnson's controversial decision to suspend Parliament from next week until Oct. 14 has forced lawmakers to work fast to lock the prime minister into a position where a no-deal Brexit is impossible.

How we got here:

  • On Monday, cross-party lawmakers unveiled a bill that would give Johnson until Oct. 19 to negotiate a deal with the EU. If Johnson failed, the bill would require him to request a 3-month extension to move the Brexit date to Jan. 31.
  • On Tuesday, Johnson watched as a Conservative lawmaker walked across the floor of the House of Commons to join the Liberal Democrats, stripping the government of its 1-man majority in dramatic fashion. Hours later, Parliament defeated Johnson in a vote to take control of the legislative agenda.
  • On Wednesday, Parliament voted in favor of the bill to block a no-deal Brexit. The 21 rebels who were expelled for voting against Johnson have served for a total of 350 years as Conservative lawmakers and include several high-ranking former government ministers and the grandson of Winston Churchill.

The bottom line: Johnson is in a bind and has completely thrown away his majority. No one quite knows how the next 57 days will shake out.

Go deeper: The sticking point standing in the way of a Brexit deal

Go deeper

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.