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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

Updated 8 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
11 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.