What Happened: In a series of votes on Sept. 4, the British House of Commons approved a bill requesting the government ask the European Union to delay Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020, and rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold an early general election, The Guardian reported. The House of Lords will now debate the bill to delay Brexit ahead of an expected vote by Sept. 6.
Why It Matters: After his two defeats in the Commons on Sept. 4 — and the loss of his parliamentary majority the previous day — Johnson will continue pushing for a general election in which he can promise to make Brexit happen. But an early election requires support from two-thirds of the House of Commons, and Labour and other opposition parties will reject the proposal at least until the bill to delay Brexit has secured approval.
Background: The European Union will hold a summit Oct. 17, when British and EU officials will have one last chance to reach an agreement on an exit deal before the Brexit deadline on Oct. 31. Johnson has said he opposes an extension and that he wants a general election before that summit. Because the British Parliament will be suspended between mid-September and mid-October, the decision could be delayed until late October unless parliamentarians approve a general election this week or Johnson's government lifts or shortens the suspension of Parliament.
- U.K.: Johnson Corners Brexit Foes and the EU Alike (Aug. 28, 2019)
- Can the Opposition Unite to Stop a Hard Brexit? (Aug. 15, 2019)
- U.K.: Johnson Threatens to Ignore Parliament to Make Brexit Happen (Aug. 5, 2019)