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Boris Johnson's bid for an election is set to be initially thwarted as opposition parties are united in wanting to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to a vote.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday demanded an Oct. 15 snap election after lawmakers seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in parliament which he cast as an attempt to surrender to the European Union.
Parliament's move leaves Brexit up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole endeavor - both outcomes would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom's voters.
An alliance of opposition lawmakers backed by 21 rebels from Johnson's Conservative Party defeated the government Tuesday on a motion allowing them to try to pass a law which would force a three-month-long extension to Britain's EU exit date.
Johnson expelled the 21 Conservative members, including two former chancellors, Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, along with Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames from the party after the defeat.
"I don't recognize this. It's the Brexit Party, rebadged," Clarke said. "It's been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who's got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy [and] a Cabinet which is the most right-wing Cabinet any Conservative Party has ever produced."
Johnson vowed never to delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31 and challenged opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree to an Oct. 15 election.
"Can I invite the leader of the opposition to confirm, when he stands up shortly, that if that surrender bill is passed, he will allow the people of this country to have their view on what he is proposing to hand over in their name with an election on October the 15th," Johnson told parliament.
However, needing the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers, Johnson's bid for an election is set to be initially thwarted as opposition parties are united in wanting to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to a vote.
In the meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have applied to register to vote in the past 48 hours. The deadline for applications would be Sept. 27 if a snap general election happens in October.
Johnson said his strategy was to get a Brexit deal finished by the EU Summit on Oct. 17 and "get Brexit done". He said the British government was making substantial progress and would succeed in removing the Irish border backstop.
The showdown between prime minister and parliament continues Wednesday with a dizzying array of events planned including a vote on the attempt to block no-deal, a vote on Johnson's election bid and weekly questions to the prime minister.
As the three-year Brexit crisis approaches a crescendo, the United Kingdom was edging towards an election as most British politicians see no other way to break the impasse.
One scenario is for opposition parties to defeat Johnson's bid for an election until they have passed their bill blocking a no-deal Brexit. Once in law, opposition parties could then agree to an election.
The government has scheduled a vote on an election after about 1800 GMT Wednesday.
An October election would open up three likely options: a Brexit-supporting government under Johnson, a Labour government led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn or a hung parliament that could lead to a coalition or minority government of some kind.
The type of Brexit that emerges from that election is unclear, though there would be little time for a deal before the Oct. 31 deadline. An avowedly pro-Brexit government could overturn any laws aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit.
In one piece of good news for Johnson, the face of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, a Scottish court ruled that his decision to suspend parliament later this month was lawful.