Brexit extension announced as Boris Johnson pushes for December election

By Rob Picheta and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 1010 GMT (1810 HKT) October 29, 2019
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6:07 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Our live coverage has ended. Read the full story here.

6:07 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

An early election looms -- but when?

UK lawmakers rejected the government's proposal on Monday, but an early election is nevertheless looking increasingly likely.

Two very similar short bills will be introduced in Parliament in the coming days, both seeking to lock down an early vote: One proposal for a December 12 election, will be laid down by the government. Another proposal for a December 9 election has been announced by the Liberal Democrats and the SNP.

Both are designed to skirt the current election law, which requires a supermajority of two-thirds in Parliament to approve an early election. But like any other legislation, these bills will be subjects to possible amendments, which could pose new political risks.

The UK is heading towards an early election.
The UK is heading towards an early election. Photo: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images

5:53 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Government put Brexit deal vote on hold for now

From CNN's Luke McGee

The Brexit agreement that Johnson struck with Brussels will not be brought back to the UK Parliament while its members debate an Election Bill, a Downing Street source told CNN.

“Tonight we are laying a one clause motion to amend the [Fixed-Term Parliaments Act] and call an election with the named day of 12 December," the source said.

The source added the bill is "very similar to the Lib Dems/SNP proposal."

“This is the way to get Brexit done so the country can move on,” the source also said.

3:52 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Swinson: "Parliament simply does not trust" Johnson

From CNN's Luke Hanrahan

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost the vote in Parliament because lawmakers don't trust him.

She called the vote on Monday the "latest attempt to force his bad Brexit bill through."

She added:

Boris Johnson claims he wants a general election, but he also claimed he wouldn’t prorogue Parliament or put a border down the Irish sea. If Boris Johnson wants a General Election, then he could have supported our Bill for a General Election on December 9th. Instead, he has chosen to stick to his original plan for December 12th which we have already rejected.

She said Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign to stop Brexit.

The Liberal Democrats have put forward their own plan to force a general election in early December.
The Liberal Democrats have put forward their own plan to force a general election in early December. Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

3:12 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Johnson will push for one-line bill on early election

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced he will try to bypass the supermajority rule which ensured he lost his bid for an early election on Monday by introducing a new piece of legislation that would effectively override the current election law.

A one-line bill, saying something along the lines of "notwithstanding the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), an election will be held on December 12."

Johnson would only need a simple majority of MPs to pass that law, as opposed to the backing of two thirds of Parliament required by the FTPA.

However, there are two issues with that approach:

  • Johnson doesn't have a majority.
  • Just like any legislation in Parliament, a one-line bill will be open to amendments.

Johnson runs the risk that the opposition could team up with Conservative rebels to change the law in ways that could potentially hurt him.

3:09 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Boris Johnson loses his bid for an early election

The Government has lost yet another vote in Parliament, with MPs defeating Boris Johnson's motion calling for an early election.

The government secured 299 votes, while 70 MPs voted against the bill.

To succeed, the Prime Minister needed two thirds of all MPs -- 434 in total -- to support his call for an early vote, under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

2:54 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Parliament is voting on a motion for an early election

UK lawmakers are voting now on whether to hold an early election in December.

2:54 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

Opposition rubs in Johnson's broken promises

A number of opposition MPs have been arguing that they cannot support Boris Johnson's call for an early election because they can't trust him.

They are pointing out a number of pledges the Prime Minister has broken in the past, such as saying he wouldn't call for an early election, or ask the EU for another Brexit extension.

He did all of those things -- though he had no choice over the last one, after Parliament passed a law that required him to do just that.

2:41 p.m. ET, October 28, 2019

SNP wants out of the union (the UK union, that is...) says Blackford

Ian Blackford, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Westminster, turned his speech in the election debate into a new pitch for Scottish independence.

Scottish independence is once again becoming a major topic.
Scottish independence is once again becoming a major topic. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The majority of Scottish people voted to remain in the European Union in the June 2016 referendum, and the SNP has been using that result as an argument in favor of another vote on Scottish independence.

Blackford said:

If we want to protect our interests in Scotland ... we should not and cannot be ripped out of the European Union against our will ... and that means Scotland needs to complete that journey ... and become an independent member of the European Union.