Sep 9, 2019

Parliament blocks Boris Johnson from calling snap election for 2nd time

Boris Johnson. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

On the U.K. Parliament's last night before beginning a month-long suspension, Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed for the 2nd time to earn the two-thirds majority necessary to call a snap general election.

Why it matters: Johnson was hoping to use an election to circumvent a law passed by Parliament last week that will require him to seek a Brexit extension rather than crash out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31. The prime minister has said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek an extension, but he now appears to be left with little other choice outside of breaking the law.

The big picture: The opposition Labour Party, which has been clamoring for an election for the past 2 years, opted not to vote for Johnson's motion in fear that he would win a majority in the election, repeal the extension law and force a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he would still favor an election once no-deal Brexit is taken completely off the table.

  • Johnson's controversial move to suspend Parliament from Monday night until Oct. 14 was originally designed to thwart rebel attempts to block a no-deal Brexit, but it may end up weakening his own bargaining position.
  • Parliament will not meet again until 3 days before the European Council summit on Oct. 17 and 18, the last chance for Johnson and the EU to agree to a deal before Brexit day.
  • It's unclear what comes next. A wild showdown in October could see Johnson refuse to abide by the opposition's law — with consequences as severe as jail — or choose to resign rather than break his promise to deliver Brexit on Halloween, "do or die."

Worth noting: Amazingly, Johnson still has not won a vote in Parliament as prime minister. A bill passed Monday will require the government to release documents and communications related to its no-deal preparations, after a leak last month revealed that a cliff-edge Brexit could cause devastating food, fuel and drug shortages.

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

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Everything you need to know about Brexit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom shocked the world and voted to “Brexit,” or leave the European Union. After more than three years of uncertainty and fractured politics, the U.K. officially exited the EU on Jan. 31, 2020.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 29, 2019 - World

Scottish court says U.K. Parliament's suspension is unlawful

Photo: Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Scotland's Court of Session, its highest civil court, ruled Wednesday that the ongoing suspension — or "prorogation" — of the U.K. Parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is unlawful, per the BBC.

What's next: The court's ruling did not include an order to cancel the prorogation, so Parliament will remain out of session. The case now heads to the U.K.'s Supreme Court next week.

Go deeperArrowSep 11, 2019

U.K.'s Labour Party votes not to campaign against Brexit in next election

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The U.K.'s Labour Party — the main opposition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Parliament — voted at their annual party conference on Monday against a measure to campaign in favor of remaining in the European Union during the next general election.

Why it matters: Intra-party divisions were on full display during the annual conference, a chance for Labour to lay out its strategy for defeating the largely pro-Brexit Conservative Party at an election that will likely take place in the next few months. Rather than campaign "energetically" on canceling Brexit, Labour's platform will advocate for negotiating a new divorce deal with the EU and presenting it to the British people in a new referendum — with "remain" as the alternative option.

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019