Britain’s departure from the European Union was thrown into chaos on Tuesday after parliament rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s extremely tight timetable for ratifying his exit deal.
Ahead of the vote, Johnson had warned parliament that if it defeated him on the timetable and forced a delay until January then he would abandon his attempt to ratify the deal and push for an election instead under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done”.
Johnson was on Saturday forced by opponents into the humiliation of asking the EU for a delay beyond Oct. 31 that he had vowed he would never seek. The European Council president Donald Tusk said he is taking the request seriously.
Lawmakers voted 322 to 308 against the so-called Programme Motion which set out a three-day schedule to rush his deal through the House of Commons.
Earlier, lawmakers voted 329 to 299 in favour of the second reading of his 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill, a significant boost for Johnson just five days after he struck a last-minute deal with the EU.
Johnson said on Tuesday the government would pause legislation to ratify its Brexit deal with the European Union while the bloc decides whether to offer a delay to Britain’s planned Oct. 31 exit.
Speaking after parliament rejected the government’s planned timetable for the legislation, Johnson said: “The EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament’s request for a delay.”
“I will speak to EU member states about their intentions. Until they have reached a decision we will pause this legislation. Let me be clear, our policy remains that we should not delay,” he said.