Boris Johnson dealt blow as Brexit rebels vote to seize control

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11:23 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

BREAKING: Conservative Party loses working majority in Parliament

Conservative MP Phillip Lee has defected to the Liberal Democrats during Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech to the House of Commons.

As the Prime Minister was starting his address, Lee stood up and walked across the Commons floor before taking a seat with the Liberal Democrats.

The move leaves Johnson's government without a working majority in Parliament.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson confirmed the move in a tweet welcoming Lee moments later.

Shortly after, Lee tweeted his resignation letter in which he wrote that he did not make the decision lightly.

He added: "Sadly, the Brexit process has helped to transform this once great Party in to something more akin to a narrow faction, where an individual's 'conservatism' is measured by how recklessly one wishes to leave the European Union."

10:36 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

UK PM Boris Johnson delivering statement on G7 summit

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has arrived at the House of Commons and is delivering a statement on the G7 summit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Parliament TV

10:26 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

Spotted: Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May has returned to parliament, where she is seated on the backbenches.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Parliament TV

10:20 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

A no-deal Brexit means the UK "would face more years of debts and austerity," former Conservative leader hopeful warns

"Why a no-deal Brexit is a very bad idea -- from someone who has voted for Brexit and a sensible deal," Tory rebel and former leadership candidate Rory Stewart tweeted when sharing a link to a blog post on his website.

"It would be perceived rightly -- by our international partners and investors -- as a signal failure of sense, statesmanship, and strategy. We would drop overnight into the margins of the world's trading system," Stewart wrote in the blog post.
"We would have left all the fundamental questions, about our future, unresolved and uncertain. And our reputation, prosperity and influence would be damaged for no benefit."
Rory Stewart pictured on July 22.
Rory Stewart pictured on July 22. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Stewart also warned it would "increase demands" for Scotland and Northern Ireland to leave the UK.

"No-deal is not the answer to anything," he concluded. "We would face more years of debts and austerity, undermine Britain’s reputation for competence and reliability, and take us no further forward in defining any future relationships with the EU or anyone else."

Stewart sent a follow-up tweet shortly afterward reconfirming that he intends to rebel against Boris Johnson's government and would vote against a no-deal Brexit because it would be "deeply damaging."

9:58 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

Boris Johnson's complicated design legacy in London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson doesn't appear to be short on big, unconventional ideas.

Before he was Prime Minister, he was Mayor of London. And while he'd never held a senior government position before he was elected in 2008, he wasted no time securing a lasting legacy through a series of design and architectural projects that can be spotted across the capital.

But since the end of his second term as mayor three years ago, critics have savaged his enthusiasm for spectacular initiatives with questionable benefit to the public, and for creating a gilded city for a global elite, while allowing rough sleeping to double.

You can read more about more how his legacy divides opinion here:

9:39 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

MPs return from summer recess

UK lawmakers have returned to the House of Commons after their summer recess.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is currently briefing MPs about the situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

9:36 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

Mayor of London: "Tonight's vote will define our future for decades to come"

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged MPs to vote to block a no-deal Brexit ahead of a likely emergency debate in Parliament Tuesday.

"It is absolutely crucial that they grasp this opportunity with both hands and do the right thing for London and the whole UK, before it’s too late," Khan said in a statement.

A no-deal Brexit will cause severe disruption, make us poorer and less safe, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, put the rights and freedoms of EU citizens at risk and diminish our global standing. No one voted for this."
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged MPs to "grasp this opportunity with both hands."
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged MPs to "grasp this opportunity with both hands." Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Khan said that "tonight's vote will define our future for decades to come" and urged MPs to "put aside party politics and vote to block no-deal"

"History will judge them on this moment," Khan added.

9:18 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

UK opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says "we want a general election"

UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Labour “wants a general election” but would not confirm if he would agree to one on October 14 (the date proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson if a bill is passed blocking no-deal, according to UK media).

“The priority is to prevent a no-deal Brexit with the EU,” Corbyn said Tuesday, but reiterated "if an election is called I'm ready to fight."

Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London Tuesday.
Britain's opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in north London Tuesday. Sabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images

Corbyn said Labour's priority is to support the emergency debate in Parliament so that a cross-party alliance of MPs can take control of the House of Commons in order to extend Article 50 and prevent a no-deal Brexit.

“If this legislation goes through then there is an extension… let’s see what happens after this legislation goes through,” Corbyn said.

The Labour leader would not confirm if he would potentially submit a no confidence vote in the Government, but said: “you’ll know soon enough."

9:00 a.m. ET, September 3, 2019

Johnson considered proroguing Parliament two weeks before it was made public

Documents submitted to a Scottish court suggest that the UK Government had been considering proroguing Parliament two weeks before it was made public, according to Britain's Press Association (PA) news agency.

On August 15 a note from the former director of legislative affairs at Downing Street, Nikki da Costa, suggested Parliament should be suspended. The note was reportedly seen by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings and PA said that the word "yes" had been written on the document.

A further handwritten note was sent by Johnson the next day, according to PA, who said he didn't see anything "shocking" about proroguing Parliament.