London — The United Kingdom is heading toward a national election December 12 after lawmakers passed a bill put forward by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson late Tuesday. It was Johnson’s fourth attempt to trigger a vote to break the country’s political impasse over Brexit.
The bill still needs to be approved by Parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords, on Wednesday. The House of Commons voted 438-20 — with dozens of lawmakers abstaining.Johnson hopes that an election will result in his Conservative party gaining enough of a majority in Parliament to allow him to get his Brexit deal passed and take the U.K. out of the European Union as swiftly as possible.
“There is only one way to get Brexit done in the face of this unrelenting parliamentary obstructionism, this endless, willful, fingers crossed, ‘not me guv’ refusal to deliver on the mandate of the people — and that is to refresh this Parliament and give the people a choice,” Johnson said Tuesday.What does this mean for Brexit?The deadline for the U.K. to leave the EU is now January 31 of next year, after the bloc granted an extension to the previous October 31 Brexit deadline that Johnson was forced to request.Under U.K. law — even though he had promised to make Brexit happen by October 31 — Johnson had to get Parliamentary approval for either a Brexit deal or a no-deal Brexit by October 19 or he was legally required to ask the EU for an extension to the Halloween deadline. He was unable to get either thing passed in Parliament, and was therefore forced to ask the EU for more time.Johnson then requested that the EU publicly state that there would be no further extensions given beyond January 31.The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, didn’t go that far, but tweeted: “The EU27 has formally adopted the extension. It may be the last one. Please make the best use of this time.”Also on Tuesday, Johnson re-admitted 10 of the 21 members of his Conservative party he had previously kicked out for voting against the government on an earlier piece of Brexit legislation. Conservative Member of Parliament Ed Vaisey, who was one of the 10, told CBS News partner network BBC News the move was to shore up support ahead of an election.
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