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House of Lords approves bill to seek three-month Brexit extension

The legislation would ensure Britain does not crash out of the European Union if an agreement cannot be reached by 19 October.

Updated Sep 6th 2019, 3:50 PM

THE UK HOUSE OF Lords has approved a bill that would force the government to seek a three-month extension on the Brexit deadline if there is no-deal with the EU by 19 October.

The opposition in parliament and so-called Tory rebels succeeded this week in getting the Benn Bill debated, voted on and passed through the House of Commons.

The bill was then sent to the House of Lords for examination and it will now proceed to royal assent – the queen’s agreement to make the bill into a law. 

It is expected to be signed into law by Queen Elizabeth on Monday.

Opposition parties earlier confirmed that had agreed to block Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request for a snap general election until a no-deal Brexit has been prevented.

Johnson is to table a second motion to dissolve parliament on Monday, after a vote on Wednesday failed to reach the required two-thirds majority (298 ayes to 56 noes). 

Yesterday Johnson said yet again that he didn’t want an election: “… But frankly I don’t see any other way. It’s the only way to get this thing moving.”

“Boris Johnson is on the run,” Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts told Sky News.

“As parliamentarians whose priority is to stop a no-deal Brexit, our job is to make sure the Act [to stop a no-deal Brexit] – which is to be granted royal assent today or over the weekend – is put into effect and that we remain here as parliamentarians to make sure that the Prime Minister does his duty by the law.”

The Labour Party, which has wavered over whether to back a snap election, a will not back Johnson’s bid for an election, according to Reuters News and the BBC.

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon said that an early election is “a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’ – but Johnson mustn’t be allowed to dictate the timing as a device to avoid scrutiny and force through a ‘no deal’ Brexit”.

The SNP relishes the prospect of an election. But while our party interest might be served by voting for an election now, it is in the wider public interest to deny a PM threatening to defy the law any ability to cut and run in his own interests. We’ll act in the public interest.

Layla Moran of the Liberal Democrats said that she’s not convinced that a general election would “solve anything”. “If you really want Brexit stop, you take it back to the people with the option to Remain and you vote to remain in the EU.”

A Conservative Group for Europe carried out a 10,000-people strong poll of British voters indicated that a snap election would produce another hung parliament:

The results indicated that the Conservatives would secure 311 seats (-6); Labour would win 242 (-20); the Liberal Democrats would increase their take to 21 (+9); the Scottish National Party would go up to 52 (+17); Plaid Cymru would get 4 MPs (no change); the Green Party would get 1 seat (no change); and one more would go to ‘others’.

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