In a major defeat for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British House of Commons on Wednesday passed a bill designed to prevent a so-called no-deal Brexit as the country’s October 31 deadline for leaving the European Union draws near.
Members of Parliament voted 327 to 299 in favor of a bill that would force Johnson to ask the EU for a three-month extension of the October 31 deadline if the two sides can’t reach a deal outlining the terms of future relations and mitigating the economic disruption Brexit is expected to cause by October 19.
The legislation will now move to the House of Lords, where pro-Brexit lawmakers plan to filibuster through the night to block it.
Johnson has vowed that he will not ask the EU for an extension but will keep Brexit on track for its October 31 deadline despite the lack of an agreement. But he lost his parliamentary majority Tuesday when Conservative Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats, further complicating his political calculus. He has threatened call a snap general election on October 15, which would require the support of two-thirds of the House of Commons, and booted 21 Conservative members out of his party for previously voting against a no-deal Brexit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who backs the delay bill, has called the Johnson’s policies “dangerous and reckless.”