Brexit

Boris Johnson pushing for October election after humiliating Commons defeat

Brexit protesters in London as MPs took part in an emergency debate over a new law to block a no-deal Brexit last night. Picture by Victoria Jones, Press Association

BORIS Johnson is to push for an October election after Tory rebels and opposition MPs teamed up to defeat him last night.

A group of Tories revolted in a bid to block the prime minister from taking the UK out of the European Union without a Brexit deal on October 31.

Tory rebels and opposition MPs were allowed an emergency debate and a vote to take control of the Commons agenda.

After the vote was passed by 328 votes to 301 late yesterday, MPs can now bring forward a bill seeking to delay the UK's exit date.

Read More: Charles Stewart Parnell name-checked by Jacob Rees-Mogg during Brexit debate 

The move would require the prime minister to seek a delay to Brexit until January 31 if no agreement has been reached and MPs have not approved a no-deal withdrawal.

Mr Johnson said last night that if MPs vote today on a bill to block a no-deal Brexit then he will move to call a snap general election, expected to be held on October 15.

"I don't want an election but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop negotiations and to compel another pointless delay to Brexit potentially for years then that would be the only way to resolve this," he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in the Commons yesterday. Picture by Jessica Taylor, UK Parliament, Press Association

He said earlier that the bill would "force me to go to Brussels and beg an extension" and "destroy any chance" of negotiating an agreement.

Read More: All-Ireland food zone could be set up after Brexit

However, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the no-deal bill must be passed before any election.

"There is no majority to leave without a deal within the country," he said.

Mr Corbyn called on Mr Johnson to put his Brexit plan to the people, if he has one.

The 10 DUP MPs voted with the government last night but independent MP Lady Sylvia Hermon voted against.

Earlier, Mr Johnson's working majority in the Commons was wiped out just hours before the crunch vote.

Read More: Northern Ireland would be 'wrecked' by no-deal Brexit, court told

Former minister Phillip Lee dramatically defected to the Liberal Democrats, crossing the floor of the Commons as Mr Johnson delivered a statement to MPs.

Meanwhile, the Irish government said last night it had stepped up its contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.

It said the Revenue Commissioners have been writing individually to all businesses trading with the UK since July.

The government will today launch a public advertising campaign to raise awareness of the implications of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Its announcement came just hours after the European Commission said that a no-deal outcome remained a "distinct possibility".

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