British PM vows to pursue Brexit deal after new blow

Source:AFP Published: 2019/9/10 22:38:42

Beleaguered British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to continue his attempts to strike a new Brexit deal with Brussels, after losing yet another vote on Tuesday during a chaotic parliamentary session.

Johnson slammed the opposition for voting against his call for a snap election in the final minutes of a stormy late-night debate ahead of a controversial suspension of parliament called by the prime minister.

He said he would "strive to get an agreement" at a summit in Brussels next month - the alternative being a "no-deal" departure that critics warn would spark economic chaos.

Johnson accused his opponents of shirking their duty by blocking an early election.

He held a cabinet meeting later on Tuesday to plot his next move after a series of defections and expulsions left him far short of a parliamentary majority and unable to garner enough votes from MPs to hold an early election.

He was also due to meet with Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, amid rumors that he may be softening his negotiating demands over the key issue of the Irish border and associated trade conditions after Brexit.

Foster, whose party wants Northern Ireland to remain part of Britain, warned Johnson that the province must not be sacrificed in talks.

There were dramatic scenes in parliament as the current session drew to a close early Tuesday. Opposition Labour MPs waved signs reading "silenced" and shouted "Shame on you!" at government lawmakers during a ceremony for the suspension of parliament.

The move is normally a simple formality but Johnson was accused of acting highhandedly by calling an extended suspension as the Brexit date looms.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow earlier in the debate announced he would be stepping down in a strongly worded speech in which he warned the government against trying to "degrade" parliament.

Posted in: EUROPE

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