LONDON—Britain got Brexit breathing space but no clarity on Oct. 28, when the European Union granted a three-month delay to the UKs departure from the bloc.
British politicians immediately began using the extra time to do what they have done for more than three years—bicker about Brexit.
After a testy debate in the House of Commons, lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnsons call to hold an early election as a way of breaking the political deadlock over the countrys stalled departure from the EU.
Legislators voted by 299–70 for a motion to hold a Dec. 12 election—short of the two-thirds majority of the 650 House of Commons lawmakers needed for it to pass.
Still, an election appears inevitable ahead of the next scheduled one in 2022, if Britain is to move on from the stasis caused by a prime minister who vowed to deliver Brexit “do or die” and a Parliament that has repeatedly thwarted him.
Johnson said he would try again this week using a different procedure—a bill that only needs a simple majority to pass.
“The only way to get Brexit done is to go to the people of this country,” Johnson told legislators, accusing his opponents of betraying voters decision to leave the EU.
He said that unless there was an election, the government would be “like Charlie Brown, endlessly running up to kick the ball, only to have Parliament whisk it away.”
“We cannot continue with this endless delay,” he said.
Yet further delay stretched ahead after the EU agreed to postpone Brexit until Jan. 31, acting to avert a chaotic UK departure just three days before Britain was due to become the first country to leave the 28-nation bloc.
After a short meeting of diplomats in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter that the EUs 27 other countries would accept the UKs request for a “flextension.” Under the terms of the agreement, the UK can leave before Jan. 31 if the British and European parliaments both ratify a Brexit divorce agreement, either on Dec. 1 or Jan 1.
The delay is the third time the Brexit deadline has been changed since British voters decided in a 2016 referendum to leave the bloc.
The decision was welcomed by politicians in the UK and the EU as a temporary respite from Brexit anxiety—but not by Johnson, who said just weeks ago that he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than postpone the UKs leaving date past Oct. 31.
In the end, the choice wasnt in his hands. The UK Parliament forced Johnson to ask for a delay to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which would hurt the economies of both Britain and the EU.
In a letter to Tusk, Johnson said that under UK law, “I have no discretion to do anything other than confirm the UKs formal agreement to this extension.”
But he called the delay “unwanted,” and said it was “imposed on this government against its will.”
Johnson urged the 27 other EU countries “to make clear that a further extension after 31 January is not possible.”
Johnson took office in July vowing to “get Brexit done” after his predecessor, Theresa May, resigned in defeat. Parliament had rejected her divorce deal with the bloc three times, and the EU had delayed Britains scheduled March 29 departure, first to April, and then to October.
Johnson has faced similar political gridlock, as Parliament blocked his attempt to push through his Brexit deal before the October deadline and made him ask the EU for more time. He hopes voters will give his Conservative Party a majority if there is an election, allowing the prime minister to push through the divorce deal he struck with the EU and—finally—take Britain out of the bloc.
Opposition parties also want an election, though not on Johnsons terms. The main opposition Labour Party said it would study the goRead More – Source