08:22 GMT +316 October 2019
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    A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows members the House of Lords gathering together to discuss the European Union Withdrawal (No. 6) bill, as proposed by Conservative MP Oliver Letwin, in London on September 6, 2019

    UK Lawmakers Reject Snap Parliamentary Election

    © AFP 2019 / PRU
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    British lawmakers have voted to reject UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's request to hold an early election.

    To call a snap election, the government needs 434 votes - two-thirds of all legislators elected to the 650-seat lower house of the UK parliament. In a vote in the early hours of Tuesday, only 293 lawmakers backed the government's proposal.

    The vote came just before a five-week suspension of parliament, a move announced earlier by Johnson.

    "Once again, the opposition think they know better", Johnson said in the early hours of Tuesday, right after the vote.

    Nevertheless, the prime minister immediately announced that he would make another proposal to hold snap elections in the near future. Opposition officials said that they would discuss holding snap parliamentary elections only after Johnson agreed with Brussels on the postponement of Brexit and on the terms of the withdrawal agreement.

    Johnson told the UK parliament on Monday, ahead of a vote on whether a snap election should be held, that an election is the only way to break the deadlock over Brexit.

    "Mr. Speaker, I am re-tabling a motion for an early date general election, I don't want it, I hoped this step would be unnecessary [...] Yet I have accepted the reality that an election is the only way to break the deadlock in the House (of Commons) and to serve the national interest by giving whoever is prime minister the strongest possible mandate to negotiate for our country at next month's European council", Johnson said, cited by Reuters.

    Johnson said that if Parliament did not vote for a snap election, he would go to the EU summit next month seeking to agree on a deal, but would not ask for another delay to Brexit.

    "I will not ask for another delay", Johnson said Monday.

    UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn argued on Monday, "we are not walking into traps laid by this prime minister", noting that Johnson is trying to take the country "over a cliff of a no-deal exit", adding it will damage the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.

    "Until [...] no-deal has been taken off the table... we will not vote to support the dissolution of this house and a general election [...] We're eager for an election. But as keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities", Corbyn told Parliament in a debate about holding the snap election.

    UK lawmakers also voted earlier on Monday in favor of forcing the government to publish its planning documents for a no-deal Brexit scenario. Members of parliament voted 311 to 302 in favor of the motion earlier in the day.

    The UK government now has until Wednesday 11:00 p.m. (22:00 GMT) to publish all correspondence, including informal communications via Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram. 

    Earlier on Monday, a bill aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit in late October became law after receiving the formal assent of Queen Elizabeth II. The bill aims to avoid leaving the European Union without a deal.

    The legislation forces UK Prime Minister Johnson to ask for a delay unless a deal has been agreed with the bloc or the parliament votes for a no-deal Brexit by 19 October.

    On Friday, UK opposition parties agreed to protest Johnson's plan for a snap election, seeking to avoid it taking place prior to the 31 October Brexit deadline.

    Currently, Brexit is at a standstill. The country’s parliament is opposed to the agreement with the European Union in its current form, but is also unilaterally opposed to a no-deal Brexit. The European Union has refused to resume negotiations and revise the agreement. Johnson insists that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union as scheduled, on 31 October, with or without a deal.


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