Senior UK MPs among 21 Conservative rebels in vote against government

Senior UK MPs among 21 Conservative rebels in vote against government

Senior UK MPs among 21 Conservative rebels in vote against government

Written by Reuters

04 Sep, 2019 | 6:09 pm

Reuters –  Prominent British lawmakers including a number of former cabinet members were among 21 Conservative rebels who helped defeat Prime Minister Boris Johnson in parliament on Tuesday (September 3).

The MPs voted for an opposition-led motion that seeks to prevent Johnson taking Britain out of the EU without a divorce agreement, prompting the prime minister to announce that he would immediately push for a snap election.

The government was defeated by 328 to 301 on a motion put forward by opposition parties and some of the rebel Conservatives – who had been warned they would be kicked out of the party if they defied the government.

The 21 Conservative rebels who now face expulsion from the party include Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Britain’s World War Two leader Winston Churchill, and two former finance ministers – Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke.

More than three years after the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union, the defeat leaves the course of Brexit unresolved, with possible outcomes still ranging from a turbulent ‘no-deal’ exit to abandoning the whole endeavour.

Tuesday’s victory is only the first hurdle for lawmakers, enabling them to take control of parliamentary business.

On Wednesday (September 4) they will seek to pass a law forcing Johnson to ask the EU to delay Brexit – for a third time – until Jan. 31 unless he has a deal approved by parliament beforehand on the terms and manner of the exit.

It puts Johnson in a similar bind to that faced by his predecessor Theresa May, who failed three times to get the backing of lawmakers for the Withdrawal Agreement that she had negotiated with the EU. Johnson took over from her six weeks ago with a promise that his more robust approach would force a better deal out of the EU that would satisfy parliament.

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