Boris Johnson has suffered yet another defeat and will be forced to seek an extension for Brexit following a Parliamentary vote on the Letwin amendment.
The amendment – named after rebel MP Sir Oliver Letwin, who lost the Conservative whip after blocking a no-deal Brexit – ‘withholds approval’ of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal until the EU withdrawal bill is passed.
Now the amendment has been passed it has triggered the Benn Act, which means the prime minister is required to request an extension to article 50 if a deal cannot be agreed – which it has not.
As reported by The Guardian, the government lost the vote by a margin of 322 to 306, with the vote acting to withhold approval of Johnson’s deal.
The vote means the prime minister cannot secure parliamentary approval of his deal by the end of today (October 19) and is therefore required by the terms of the Benn Act to write to Brussels to ask for an extension to the end of January 2020.
The prime minister said he is not dismayed by the result, adding he is unwilling to negotiate a delay – despite a law requiring him to do so – and believes the best thing for the UK and the EU is to leave on October 31.
I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so.
Johnson described the vote as ‘pretty close’ and said he hopes MPs will accept his deal next week in ‘overwhelming numbers’. He added: ‘I continue to commend this deal to the house.’
He then said further delay would be ‘bad for this country, bad for the EU and bad for democracy’, as per The Independent.
However, leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said Parliament has spoken, adding Johnson can no longer use the threat of no deal to blackmail MPs. Corbyn then called on Johnson to reconsider what he had said about not asking for an extension.
It is an emphatic decision by this house… The prime minister must now comply with the law.
— ITV News (@itvnews) October 19, 2019
After being defeated on the Letwin amendment, Johnson has vowed to introduce the legislation needed to implement his agreement in Parliament next week.
The prime minister has until 11pm to send the extension letter to the EU.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).