Spotlight: Brexit thrown into chaos after lawmakers reject British PM's fast track plan

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-23 04:33:18|Editor: yan
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LONDON, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans were thrown into chaos Tuesday night when the House of Commons rejected his call for a fast-track debate.

Johnson won a massive boost when MPs voted by 329 to 299 to back the Withdrawal Agreement Bill he needs to bring Britain's membership of the European Union to an end.

But minutes later MPs rejected his call for the legislation to be fast tracked through the House of Commons by this Thursday.

After that vote was lost by 322 to 308, Johnson announced he was pausing the bill to enable him to consult with the Europe Union.

"I must express my disappointment that the House has again voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed the UK would have been in a position to leave the EU (European Union) on Oct. 31 with a deal," the prime minister said in response to the vote result.

"We now face further uncertainty and the EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament's request for a delay," he said.

"The first consequence is the government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome," said Johnson.

"Our policy remains that we should not delay, that we should leave the EU on Oct. 31 and that is what I will say to the EU," he added.

Earlier Tuesday, the prime minister told a parliament debate that he will pull the Brexit bill and push for an election if it is voted down by lawmakers.

Johnson also told MPs he would now step up preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

He did not though mention seeking a snap general election after telling MPs earlier that if his plans were blocked he would seek an early vote in the country.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, told MPs after the voting: "Tonight the House of Commons has refused to be bounced into debating a hugely significant piece of legislation in just two days with barely any notice and analysis of the economic impact of this bill. The prime minister is the author of his own misfortune."

The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, reached by London and Brussels last week, is now "in limbo." The Brexit deal needs to be approved by the British parliament to become legally binding before Britain leaves the European Union.

"Just in case there is any doubt, the technical term for the status of the bill at present is that the bill is in limbo," he said.

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, twittered in an ironic tone: "Do or die is over, we have now moved on to dying in a ditch. We will not be leaving the EU on 31st October."

The division list for the program motion showed just five Labour MPs rebelled to support it.

If the British government can force its Brexit bill through parliament in time, the UK could in theory still leave the European Union by the Oct. 31 deadline.

Given the latest defeat in parliament, Johnson has little chance of getting Brexit done on Oct. 31. He vowed to take his country out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.

Former British Prime Minister Theresa May, when in office, tried three times to get her Brexit agreement through the House of Commons, but all her efforts ended in failure.

Also in the debate, the opposition Labour Party accused the government of trying to bounce members of parliament to support the bill. Many lawmakers complained that they were given not enough time to scrutinize the bill.