The possibility of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in the next nine days faces a severe challenge as UK MPs have rejected plans to examine the Prime Minister’s Brexit bill in three days, leaving the legislation to hang, ABC News can report.
Although the Commons had earlier supported the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, they voted against the timetable Tuesday evening, describing it as “short”.
It’s a major blow to Boris Johnson’s wish to deliver Brexit by October 31. Johnson said after the motion to accelerate the deal failed that he would “pause” the Brexit legislation.
A spokesman from the European Commission said: “[The Commission] takes note of tonight’s result and expects the UK government to inform us about the next steps.”
Mr Johnson told MPs he was “disappointed” they had “voted for delay”, and said the UK “now faced further uncertainty”.
But he said his policy remained that Brexit would go ahead at the end of the month, adding: “One way or another, we will leave the EU with this deal to which this House has just given its assent.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson was “the author of his own misfortune” – but offered to enter discussions over a “sensible” timetable for his deal to go through Parliament.
But the SNP’s leader, Ian Blackford, said it was “another humiliating defeat” for the PM, and MPs had “spoken with a very clear voice to tell the PM he is not on”.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson called on Mr Johnson to “end the brinkmanship and replace it with some statesmanship” in order to secure an extension with the EU.
Boris Johnson agreed his new plan with EU leaders last week, but has repeatedly pledged to leave the bloc by the end of October, with or without a deal.
The Bill that would turn his plan into law – the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – was published on Monday evening, and he urged MPs to back a three-day timetable to push it through the Commons ahead of the Halloween deadline.
The PM told Parliament if it “decides to delay everything until January or possibly longer”, he would seek an election – but he did not say what the government would do if the EU offered a shorter extension.
But now Jeremy Corbyn and Labour have voted to delay it, yet again.
RT to back Boris 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/ZAunzPfeMp
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) October 22, 2019