Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday urged a vote of no confidence in the government, paving the way for early elections, but the opposition refused to agree.
The lower house members returned to work on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court had ruled the day before that the suspension of parliament in the run-up to the Brexit was illegal.
The parliamentarians sat down again at 12.30 pm, while they were initially suspended until 15 October. The prime minister, who was not present during the day, insisted on a motion of no confidence in the government. “This is the moment,” he said.
Johnson tried to force new elections several times last summer, but was unable to get the parliament behind him. Even now, opposition parties, which have a majority in parliament, refused to accept Johnson’s wish.
The prime minister wants the Brexit to continue on 31 October anyway, but is limited by a new law. This law obliges the prime minister to request a deferment of the Brexit in order to prevent a ‘no-deal Brexit’, if no agreement has been reached before 19 October or if the parliament disagrees with a withdrawal without agreement. Only a majority of the parliament can reverse this measure.
The parliamentarians also debated Wednesday on the verdict of the court. The eleven judges who had considered the suspension unanimously agreed: Johnson would not have properly substantiated his reasons for the suspension of parliament and had given the queen the wrong advice.
The government’s senior lawyer, Geoffrey Cox, said during the debate that the government does not agree with the court’s verdict, but accepts the ruling. The government will also abide by the law to prevent the ‘no-deal Brexit’, he said. However, Johnson later said the exact opposite.
The prime minister was already aware that he would not ask the other EU member states to postpone the Brexit. Johnson said early this month that he would rather “die in a ditch”. The prime minister hopes for an election win so that he can take a better position in the negotiations with Brussels.