Brexit crisis grows as opposition rejects snap election call
Britain's Brexit dilemma intensified Friday, as opposition parties refused to support Prime Minister Boris Johnson's call for an election until he gets a delay to Britain's exit from the European Union — something he vows he'll never do.
Johnson says Britain must leave the EU in 55 days.
He says an election is the only way to break the deadlock in Parliament where lawmakers have repeatedly rejected a divorce deal but has also blocked attempts to leave the EU without one.
He wants the election to take place on Oct. 15, two weeks before the scheduled Brexit day of Oct. 31.
To get a snap election, he needs the support of two-thirds of lawmakers.
Johnson lost a vote on the same question this week, but he plans to try again Monday.
After discussions Friday, lawmakers from several opposition parties said they would not back an election unless the government asked the EU to postpone Brexit, removing the risk the U.K. could crash out without a deal.
Johnson says he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than delay Brexit.
Parliament is trying to force his hand, passing an opposition-backed law that would compel Johnson's Conservative government to seek a three-month Brexit postponement if no divorce deal is agreed by Oct. 19.
The legislation was approved Friday by the unelected House of Lords, after gaining backing from the elected House of Commons earlier this week.
It will become law within days once it gets the formality of royal assent.
But pro-EU lawmakers want to hold off on triggering an election until the Brexit delay has actually been secured, fearing Johnson will try to wriggle out of the commitment.
Blocking an election is a risky strategy for the opposition, which could be accused of denying the public its say.
Story by the Associated Press.
Cover image: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Darnford Farm in Banchory near Aberdeen, Scotland, Friday Sept. 6, 2019, to coincide with the publication of Lord Bew's review and an announcement of extra funding for Scottish farmers. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)