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A Conservative MP's defection just cost Boris Johnson his parliamentary majority

A Conservative MP's defection just cost Boris Johnson his parliamentary majority”

The vote came hours after Johnson suffered a key defection from his party, costing him his working majority in Parliament.

Johnson has said that even if the rebels' vote passes on Wednesday he will never request an extension beyond 31 October from the European Union, and "the people of this country will have to choose" in an election. Under a 2011 law, the prime minister needs a two-thirds majority to secure a snap election, although it is possible that the government might try to legislate to set that provision aside, a move that would mean it needs only a simply majority.

He said he will not agree to a new election until legislation preventing a "no-deal" exit is in place.

His dramatic statement came after MPs voted by 328 to 321 to put forward an emergency bill Wednesday to block Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union (EU) on October 31 without a deal. "They want the referendum respected".

Dominic Grieve, who was attorney general in David Cameron's government, says the expulsion threats demonstrate Johnson's "ruthlessness".

Rebel Conservative MPs had been warned ahead of the vote they would be kicked out of the party if they voted against the government.

Lee described the Liberal Democrats as being the "best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society - and leave our country and our world in a better place for the next generations".

The EU's state aid rules, regulating how governments can help companies, "offered flexible solutions for national support measures" for smaller EU companies with large exposure to Britain, in case of a no-deal, it said.

In a theatrical show of defiance, Conservative MP Phillip Lee crossed the floor of the Commons while Johnson was making his statement, to defect to the pro-European Liberal Democrats.

He said the move by opposition MPs and members of his Conservative party to try to delay Brexit beyond October 31 if he can not agree exit terms with Brussels was like "running up the white flag".

On Tuesday morning, Justine Greening - MP for the overwhelmingly Remain-voting London constituency of Putney - said she would bow out.

All three oppose Johnson, with Hammond saying he expected a procedural motion to take control of business.

The comments were met with widespread jeers from fellow MPs, given Johnson has recently asked the Queen to prorogue parliament until October 14 and threatened Conservative MPs with deselection for opposing his Brexit strategy. If he failed, there would be a general election.

A no-deal Brexit will sever decades of seamless trade with Europe's single market of 500 million people. Leaked government documents predicted disruptions to the supply of medicine, decreased availability of fresh food and even potential fresh water shortages because of disruption to supplies of water treatment chemicals.

The bloc insists it won't renegotiate the agreement struck with former Prime Minister Theresa May, which Johnson considers unacceptable.

A general election would likely be chaotic and extremely bitter, and there are no guarantees it would transform the parliamentary arithmetic in favor or against advocates of a no-deal Brexit.

While Johnson and British lawmakers lock horns over Brexit policy, the European Union is continuing to prepare for the worst.

It said the Revenue Commissioners have been writing individually to all businesses trading with the United Kingdom since July.



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