Senior UK govt figures must publish Brexit WhatsApp messages

Remigio Civitarese
Settembre 11, 2019

Determined to move forward, Johnson said he planned to ask lawmakers to back a general election with the hope of winning majority support to back his Brexit strategy.

The legislators voted 293 to 46 to turn down the government's wish to hold a general election on October 15.

Early Tuesday, lawmakers rebuffed, for a second time, Johnson's request for an early election, which he said was "the only way to break the deadlock in the House".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he will call for new general election; senior foreign affairs correspondent Amy Kellogg reports from London.

Members of parliament will today (Monday 9 September) be asked to vote for the second time in a week on the possibility of holding a snap election in October, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and other opposition parties are expected to block the motion.

"And I can tell you this; We're ready for that election".

The day after meeting Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Johnson held talks with his Northern Irish allies in London - all key players in the race to secure a deal before Britain leaves the European Union on October 31.

"The problem that we've got is that we cannot at the moment have any confidence in Boris Johnson abiding by any commitment or deal that we could construct", he said.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow expressed his displeasure at Parliament's suspension, saying "this is not a standard or normal prorogation".

Legislators also demanded the government release, by Wednesday, emails and text messages among aides and officials relating to suspending Parliament and planning for Brexit amid allegations that the suspension is being used to circumvent democracy.

It was a final show of defiance in a stormy parliamentary session in which Johnson also lost a separate vote, calling on the government to publish confidential papers about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.

He kicked 21 lawmakers out of Parliament's Conservative group after they defected to the opposition and two ministers - one of them being his brother - recently quit amid the political infighting. "But as keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities".

The motion is not legally binding but is politically hard to ignore.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson sits in the back of a car as he leaves parliament in London Monday Sept. 9 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson voiced optimism Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached so Britain leaves the European Uni
Brexit news: British lawmakers reject holding snap elections ahead of Brexit

But MPs see it as an attempt to silence them in the run-up to Brexit and believe documents will prove it.

The bill, which became law Monday, would force Johnson to delay Brexit to January or even later if he can not get a deal with Brussels at a crucial European Union summit on October 17-18 - or persuade MPs to back no deal.

Government minister Michael Gove warned their "desire to rifle through private correspondences of advisers is to set aside legal precedent and the rights of citizens".

Johnson says he is working to revise the deal agreed by his predecessor, Theresa May, which MPs rejected - but insists Brexit must happen next month no matter what.

He has previously said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than delay Brexit.

Bercow, whose control of business in Britain's House of Commons has made him a central player in the Brexit drama, announced he would step down after a decade in the job.

"We degrade this parliament at our peril", he warned lawmakers, to a sustained standing ovation from largely opposition MPs.

He fought back tears as he thanked his wife and children for their support.

Johnson acknowledged Monday that a no-deal Brexit "would be a failure of statecraft" for which he would be partially to blame.

The EU says Britain has not produced any concrete proposals for replacing the contentious "backstop", a provision in the withdrawal agreement reached by Johnson's predecessor Theresa May that is created to ensure an open border between EU member Ireland and the U.K.'s Northern Ireland. British Brexit supporters oppose the backstop because it locks Britain into European Union trade rules to avoid customs checks, something they say will stop the U.K. from striking new trade deals with countries such as the United States.

The suspension of Parliament has garnered criticism from Johnson's political opponents who see it as anti-democratic and illegal.

"Common ground was established in some areas although significant gaps remain", the two leaders said in a joint statement following an hour of talks.

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