Boris Johnson's bid for early UK election rejected

By Ivana Kottasová and Bianca Britton, CNN

Updated 2:19 p.m. ET, September 8, 2019
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12:16 a.m. ET, September 5, 2019

Filibuster ends

Late in the night, the House of Lords filibuster has ended.

6:10 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

The three defeats of Boris Johnson

So, there we have it. Boris Johnson has lost three key parliamentary votes in less than 24 hours. It's worth mentioning these three votes were the first votes he faced in Parliament since becoming Prime Minister.

Here is the tally:

  • He was first defeated on Wednesday when the opposition, joined by a group of 21 Conservative rebels, seized control of parliamentary business
  • He then failed to stop a bill blocking no-deal Brexit from going through
  • And finally, he lost a vote on whether to hold an early election.

British politics doesn't follow the three-strikes law. But the defeats are painful -- especially since Johnson has also lost his working majority in Parliament after sacking the rebels who voted against him.

Elsewhere, peers in the House of Lords are settling in for a very long night of voting on amendments to the Brexit delay bill. They have tabled 86 amendments, a move the opposition branded a filibuster.

Boris Johnson has lost three crucial votes in less than 24 hours.
Boris Johnson has lost three crucial votes in less than 24 hours. Photo: Jessica Taylor/House of Commons via AP

6:08 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Johnson: Labour's position is "not sustainable"

From CNN's Vasco Cotovio

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Labour Party’s position of resisting his call for a snap election “is not politically sustainable.”

Speaking to ITN's Robert Peston, the Prime Minister said Labour's position was "to be so consumed by cowardice as to resist a general election."

In the interview, Johnson also said he took “no joy” in sacking the Conservative members of parliament who rebelled against his government.

What the country wants to see is clarity and determination in coming out of the EU and, alas, those colleagues who had plenty of warning … they were, I’m afraid, backing a bill – the surrender bill – that effectively frustrates Brexit.
These are friends of mine and I take absolutely no joy in any of it but it was very sad and surprising that they should choose to undermine the UK’s ability to get a deal.
6:08 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

House of Lords braces for a late one

Members of the House of Lords, known as Peers, are getting ready for a very, very long debate.

They will be considering the bill blocking no-deal Brexit which was passed earlier Wednesday by the House of Commons.

The upper chamber of Parliament doesn't have the power to reject the bill. The Lords can either decide to approve a bill or send it back to the Commons with amendments.

A third option, albeit temporary, is trying to delay the proceedings. And it looks like that's exactly what some Peers are going for. They have tabled 86 amendments to the bill, a move that the opposition branded a filibuster.

Dick Newby, the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, said he was prepared for a long one -- arriving to the debate with a duvet, change of clothes and shaving kit no less.

5:47 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Corbyn: Election only once no-deal is off the table once and for all

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he would be happy to support an early election -- but not just yet.

In a tweet posted after the government's defeat in Parliament, Corbyn said the vote can go ahead after no-deal Brexit "is off the table, once and for all."

Corbyn has been calling for an early vote for months, which begs the question why, when presented with an opportunity to have one, he decided against it.

The simple answer: agreeing to the election on Wednesday would mean following Boris Johnson's plan.

That's not something Corbyn was willing to do.

He said he believed that agreeing to the election could have jeopardised the bill stopping no-deal Brexit which the House of Commons passed earlier on Wednesday.

The bill still needs to go through the House of Lords. And while the Lords don't have the power to reject the bill, they can attempt to delay the proceedings.

Timing is crucial, because Parliament is scheduled to be suspended for five weeks starting next week.

If the bill doesn't make it through the Lords before the recess, it won't become a law until after Parliament comes back. Throwing in an election at that time wasn't something Corbyn was prepared to allow.

5:10 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

EU diplomat: Talking to Johnson is pointless now

From CNN's James Frater and Nina dos Santos in Brussels

European Union leaders have been watching the drama in Westminster -- and appear to be as confused as anyone about what is going to happen next.

One EU diplomat told CNN the consensus in Brussels is "we don’t really know where the show is going to go, and what the script is, and what the finale is."

The diplomat added:

We are not optimistic at all that this is going to end well, and not sure the UK government has a plan.
[The situation] is quite serious. We see nothing changing, the deadline is fast approaching, and if he wanted to move the dial on the deadline we would have seen a proposal already.

The diplomat said Brussels is aware that the EU is being used as a "backdrop to election campaign" and added that it was pointless talking to Johnson because he currently cannot deliver a deal:

They’re a minority government that is trying to deliver the hardest form of Brexit that it doesn’t have the votes for, which lets them run down a clock to a no-deal.


5:56 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Watch Speaker John Bercow announce the result

Boris Johnson's government was defeated in its attempt to call an early election.

The government secured more votes -- 298 compared to the opposition's 56 -- but that was not enough to push the motion through.

To succeed, Johnson needed at least 434 MPs to vote in favour of the proposed.

4:45 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

BREAKING: Johnson's call for early election rejected

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan for a snap election is on hold -- at least for now.

The Prime Minister suffered a third major blow in less than 24 hours when lawmakers rejected his motion to dissolve Parliament and call an early election.

Fifty-six lawmakers voted against the motion but with only 298 votes in favour, it failed to reach the required majority of two thirds.

Since becoming Prime Minister in July, Johnson has repeatedly said he didn't want an early election.

He changed his tune after losing a key battle on Tuesday, when Parliament voted to seize the parliamentary agenda in order to push through a bill outlawing a no-deal Brexit.

That bill was debated and voted through earlier on Wednesday. Johnson said that taking the no deal option off the table means his negotiating position in Brussels would be weakened.

4:25 p.m. ET, September 4, 2019

Happening now: Lawmakers voting on whether to hold an early general election

After a short debate, MPs are voting in the House of Commons on a motion tabled by the Government to hold a snap UK election on October 15. Results are expected shortly.