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British PM loses final bid for early election

British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson lost his final chance in the early hours of Tuesday to force an early general election as the British Parliament closed its doors for five weeks.

In the final debate before the House of Commons went into a Johnson-driven suspension, the prime minister told Members of Parliament (MPs) that he will not ask the European Union (EU) next month for another delay to Britain’s departure from the bloc.  

Johnson told a crowded chamber during angry exchanges: “The people of this country have had enough.” Johnson’s second bid to trigger a snap election in mid-October again failed on Tuesday in the House of Commons.

A total of 293 of the 650 House of Commons members backed the proposal, short of the two-thirds majority needed which would have required the government winning more than 400 votes. 

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Urging politicians to back his call, Johnson said a general election was the only way to break the Brexit deadlock.

Johnson said he would go to the European Council meeting on October 17 to get a Brexit deal.

“I will go to Brussels and negotiate our departure, hopefully with a deal, but without one if necessary. I will not ask for another delay,” he said.

After the result was announced, Johnson said the government will press on and negotiate a deal, while being prepared to leave the EU without one.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, told MPs that the prime minister did not intend to follow a law just passed by the parliament, instructing him to ask Brussels for a deal if no deal has been reached.

Corbyn said he backed an election and wanted to “turf out this reckless government.”   “We are not walking into a trap laid by the prime minister,” he told lawmakers.

After the vote, politicians went through a formal process of proroguing, or suspending parliament for five weeks, the longest ever suspension of the House of Commons.

MPs will not reassemble again at Westminster until October 14 when Queen Elizabeth II re-opens a new session of the parliament. 

Johnson’s government has said negotiations will continue with Brussels during shutdown in the hope that a Brexit deal can be brokered ahead of Britain’s planned departure from the EU.  -Xinhua

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