British Government Loses Key Vote on Brexit Timetable

British lawmakers have rejected the government’s attempt to pass its Brexit bill within days. Legislators voted 322-308 Tuesday against a timetable that gave the House of Commons just three days to debate the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, CBS News informed.

The vote likely makes it impossible for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to fulfill his vow to take Britain out of the European Union on the scheduled date of October 31. The outcome means lawmakers want more time to scrutinize the complex legislation, and it throws Johnson’s exit timetable into chaos.

Johnson said he will now “pause” the government’s planned Brexit legislation, and told Parliament the government will accelerate plans for a “no-deal” Brexit in light of the defeat.

He rebuked Parliament for “voting to delay” Brexit once again. The national referendum approving the U.K.’s departure from the European Union was held in 2016. It is supposed to happen by October 31.

Johnson said he will consult with EU leaders and urged the EU to “make up its mind” about Britain’s request for a possible delay of Brexit. Johnson had already asked the European Union for an extension to the October 31 deadline in a letter sent over the weekend, though the bloc has not yet responded. 

Bills to turn European treaties into domestic law often take several weeks to get through Parliament, sometimes longer. Lawmakers saw the text of Johnson’s legislation, called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB), for the first time on Monday evening. Johnson was asking for them to take no longer than three days to pass that bill into law.

Leader of the opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn called the attempt to speed up the passage of the WAB “an abuse of Parliament and a disgraceful attempt to dodge accountability, scrutiny and any kind of proper debate.”

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