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Boris's election plan knocked back

World

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has failed to win the approval of enough MPs to go ahead with his plan to hold an early election.

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He needed to win the backing of at least 434 MPs but only 298 voted in favour of an election while 56 voted against.

The opposition Labour Party instructed its MPs to abstain on the vote.

Johnson had called for a national election on October 15, saying it was the only way out of Britain’s Brexit impasse after opposition MPs moved to block his plan to leave the European Union next month without a divorce deal.

After MPs in the House of Commons approved a bill designed to halt a no-deal Brexit, delivering the second setback to Johnson in as many days, he said: “There is only one way forward for the country.”

Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, and he accused the opposition of trying to “overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history”, referring to the outcome of the 2016 referendum to leave the EU.

Opposition parties said they would not back one until the Brexit bill becomes law. Johnson needs the support of two-thirds of the 650 MPs in the House of Commons to trigger an election.

“Let the bill pass and have Royal Assent and then we can have a general election,” said Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In a second straight day of parliamentary turmoil on Wednesday, the House of Commons voted by 327-299 in favour of the bill, sending it to parliament’s upper chamber, the House of Lords. An earlier version was approved 329-300.

Even so, the bill’s fate is unsure. Pro-Brexit peers in the Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering until time runs out.

– Reuters

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