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Brexit in chaos after parliament defeats Johnson's ratification timetable

MPs voted by 329 to 299 to approve in principle the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which implements the divorce treaty British PM Boris Johnson agreed with European Union leaders last week.

A video grab from footage broadcast by the UK Parliament's Parliamentary Recording Unit (PRU) shows Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacting during the debate on the Brexit withdrawal agreement bill in the House of Commons in London on 22 October 2019. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Britain’s departure from the European Union was thrown into chaos on Tuesday after parliament rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s extremely tight timetable for ratifying his exit deal.

Ahead of the vote, Johnson had warned parliament that if it defeated him on the timetable and forced a delay until January then he would abandon his attempt to ratify the deal and push for an election instead under the slogan of “Get Brexit Done”.

Johnson was on Saturday forced by opponents into the humiliation of asking the EU for a delay beyond 31 October that he had vowed he would never seek. The European Council president Donald Tusk said he is taking the request seriously.

Lawmakers voted 322 to 308 against the so-called Programme Motion which set out a three-day schedule to rush his deal through the House of Commons.

Earlier, lawmakers voted 329 to 299 in favour of the second reading of his 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill, a significant boost for Johnson just five days after he struck a last-minute deal with the EU.

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