Bri­tish PM vows to pur­sue Brexit deal af­ter new blow

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Be­lea­guered Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son vowed to con­tinue his at­tempts to strike a new Brexit deal with Brus­sels, af­ter los­ing yet an­other vote on Tues­day dur­ing a chaotic par­lia­men­tary ses­sion.

John­son slammed the op­po­si­tion for vot­ing against his call for a snap elec­tion in the fi­nal min­utes of a stormy late-night de­bate ahead of a con­tro­ver­sial sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment called by the prime min­is­ter.

He said he would “strive to get an agree­ment” at a sum­mit in Brus­sels next month – the al­ter­na­tive be­ing a “no-deal” de­par­ture that crit­ics warn would spark eco­nomic chaos.

John­son ac­cused his op­po­nents of shirk­ing their duty by block­ing an early elec­tion.

He held a cabi­net meet­ing later on Tues­day to plot his next move af­ter a se­ries of de­fec­tions and ex­pul­sions left him far short of a par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity and un­able to garner enough votes from MPS to hold an early elec­tion.

He was also due to meet with Ar­lene Foster, leader of North­ern Ire­land’s Demo­cratic Union­ist Party, amid ru­mors that he may be soft­en­ing his ne­go­ti­at­ing demands over the key is­sue of the Ir­ish bor­der and as­so­ci­ated trade con­di­tions af­ter Brexit.

Foster, whose party wants North­ern Ire­land to re­main part of Bri­tain, warned John­son that the province must not be sac­ri­ficed in talks.

There were dra­matic scenes in par­lia­ment as the cur­rent ses­sion drew to a close early Tues­day. Op­po­si­tion Labour MPS waved signs read­ing “si­lenced” and shouted “Shame on you!” at gov­ern­ment law­mak­ers dur­ing a cer­e­mony for the sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment.

The move is nor­mally a sim­ple for­mal­ity but John­son was ac­cused of act­ing high­hand­edly by call­ing an ex­tended sus­pen­sion as the Brexit date looms.

House of Com­mons speaker John Ber­cow ear­lier in the de­bate an­nounced he would be step­ping down in a strongly worded speech in which he warned the gov­ern­ment against try­ing to “de­grade” par­lia­ment. [email protected] glob­al­times.com.cn

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