- Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a major defeat by members of Parliament planning to delay Brexit and prevent a no-deal exit.
- Rebel Conservative MPs joined with opposition parties to pass a motion that will allow them to bring forward new legislation that could force Johnson to request a three-month delay to Brexit.
- Johnson has insisted there are “no circumstances” in which he will delay Brexit, saying he will now seek a general election instead.
- He will challenge opposition parties to vote for a new election to be called in October.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suffered a major defeat after members of Parliament voted to take control of Parliament in order to pass a new law that could force him to delay Brexit and avoid a no-deal exit.
Conservative rebels joined with opposition MPs in order to back a motion that would allow them to take control of the parliamentary agenda on Wednesday and give them the opportunity to pass a new law that could force the prime minister to seek a three-month delay to Brexit.
Johnson was defeated by 328 votes to 301, with 21 Conservative MPs backing the motion. The rebels included multiple former ministers, including former Conservative Chancellors Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.
His defeat came despite his threats to expel Conservative MPs who rebelled.
A government source on Tuesday evening confirmed that all 21 would have the Conservative whip removed and no longer represent the party.
Earlier on Tuesday, several Conservative MPs announced their decision to stand down at the next election, while one former minister, Philip Lee, dramatically crossed the floor to join the Liberal Democrats.
Johnson said he would be forced to call a general election, adding that he would bring forward a motion to hold an early general election.
“I don’t want an election, but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop the negotiations and to compel another pointless delay of Brexit, potentially for years, then that will be the only way to resolve this,” the prime minister told MPs.
Responding to Johnson, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would vote for a general election only once the legislation to delay Brexit was secured.
“He wants to table a motion for a general election – fine. Get the bill through first, in order to take no deal off the table,” the Labour leader said.
Boris Johnson will push for early general election
Johnson has insisted that there are “no circumstances” in which he will seek a delay to Brexit, with aides saying that he will instead immediately seek an early general election.
His government will instead bring forward a motion, to be voted on by MPs on Wednesday, that would force an early general election in mid-October.
However, many opposition MPs are wary of backing the motion, amid fears that Johnson could use a general election in order to bounce the UK into a no-deal Brexit.
Labour is committed to holding an early general election but may seek to attach conditions to any motion brought forward by the government, in order to prevent the date from being moved until after Britain’s planned exit date from the European Union on October 31.
Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said on Tuesday that the party would reject any immediate election motion brought forward by the government on Wednesday.
“There won’t be a general election called tomorrow because we’re not going to vote for it because we have got to make sure that this legislation is embedded, signed off by the Queen, and there is no argument about it anymore,” she told ITV.
She added: “We want a general election, but we want this legislation done first.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.