British Parliament Hands Boris Johnson Another Brexit Blow. Everything Is Still Chaos.

The Prime Minister is essentially vowing to ignore parliament.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

In Parliament’s first Saturday session since the Falklands war—dubbed, questionably, “Super Saturday”—Democratic Unionists from Ireland ensured the passage of the Letwin amendment to trigger a Brexit extension request required by the Benn Act. Confused? Me too. Read on.

Heading into the session, Prime Minister Boris Johnson needed the parliament to provide a “meaningful vote” in favor of his Brexit plan before an 11 P.M. deadline on Saturday. Without that support, legislation known as the Benn Act requires Johnson to ask the European Union to push the deadline for leaving the EU back from October 31 to January 31. That’s not what Johnson wants. He has staked his whole prime ministership on getting it done by the end of the month.

The House of Commons rebuffed Johnson on Saturday. In a 322-306 vote, it passed an amendment forcing Johnson to bring the Brexit withdrawal deal he hammered out with Brussels last week before them. Basically: No Brexit, until the parliament can vote on the whole thing.

Outside Parliament, streets were filled with demonstrators who oppose Johnson:

In typical fashion, Johnson is saying he won’t play by the rules—pledging he would not request an extension from EU leaders. “I will not negotiate a delay with the EU,” he said, “and neither does the law compel me to do so.”

Today’s vote could mean a mind-numbing number of new steps to pass the deal, presenting a race against time: EU leaders would need to return to Brussels to approve any new extension. Then there are the UK parliament’s own maneuvers that could continue to stymy the prime minister. And when the House of Commons does take up the deal, Members of Parliament can introduce even more amendments to shape the terms of a Brexit. Read through the thread below for more on the messy mechanics of what happens next:

A simpler take away comes from Peter Bone, a member of Johnsons’ Conservative Party who voted against the Letwin amendment. “I’m fed up. It’s been a complete waste of time. Nothing’s happened and it’s spoiled my birthday,” he said in an interview. “I have to be here talking to you, rather than eating cake.”

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.