Brexit: The political drama and British Parliament showdowns this week

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain must leave the EU on the scheduled departure date of Oct 31, with or without a deal, and vows to seek a snap election if the opposition Bill becomes law.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain must leave the EU on the scheduled departure date of Oct 31, with or without a deal, and vows to seek a snap election if the opposition Bill becomes law.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LONDON - Tensions were high in the British Parliament when it reconvened from its summer recess on Tuesday (Sept 3) as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced off against angry lawmakers over the fate of Brexit.

Here's a look at what happened so far this week:

DEFECTION IN DRAMATIC FASHION

Mr Johnson lost his working majority in Parliament on Tuesday when one of his Conservative lawmakers defected to the pro-European Union Liberal Democrats in dramatic fashion.

Mr Phillip Lee crossed the floor of the House of Commons just as Mr Johnson began giving a statement on last month's Group of Seven summit. Mr Lee said in a statement that the Conservative Party had become "infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism".

Mr Lee's theatrical move stripped Mr Johnson of his single-vote working majority in the House of Commons, making it all but impossible for him to enact legislation and increasing his incentive to ask the nation's voters for a mandate.

MPS GAIN CONTROL OF PARLIAMENTARY AGENDA

Lawmakers voted 328 to 301 to take control of Parliament, clearing the way for Mr Johnson's opponents to introduce a Bill on Wednesday that would seek to prevent Britain from leaving the EU without a deal on Oct 31.

21 REBELS PURGED

Mr Johnson's Conservatives said on Tuesday that they were expelling 21 rebels - including the grandson of Britain's World War II leader Winston Churchill and two former finance ministers - from the party for voting with opposition lawmakers to take control of the parliamentary agenda.

 
 
 
 

The cross-party rebels are determined to prevent a "no-deal" Brexit because of fears it would gravely damage the economy.

MPS PASS BILL TO DELAY BREXIT

Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday voted 327-299 to approve a Bill that would force Mr Johnson to seek a further delay to Brexit rather than leave the EU without an agreement on Oct 31, sending it to Parliament's unelected upper chamber for debate.

Lawmakers hope to have it passed into law by the end of the week.

But pro-Brexit members of the House of Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering - talking so much that time runs out.

Mr Johnson said Britain must leave the EU on the scheduled departure date of Oct 31, with or without a deal, and vows to seek a snap election if the opposition Bill becomes law.

MPS REJECT SNAP ELECTION

MPs dealt another blow to Mr Johnson by ripping away from him the parliamentary support he needed for an early national election on Oct 15.

A total of 298 MPs voted in favour of his motion for snap election while 56 opposed. But it was not enough for Mr Johnson to force the election as a large number of lawmakers abstained, meaning he failed to secure the support of two-thirds of the 650 legislators - or 434 - in the House of Commons.

Mr Johnson is gambling that he can win a general election and emerge with a Parliament majority that would see Britain leave the EU on Oct 31.

With contributions from AP, Washington Post