Boris Johnson fails in bid for snap election
British MPs have rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson's call for an early election, hours after voting to block a no-deal Brexit.
Johnson triggered a motion for the country to hold a snap election, after an attempt by MPs to stop the country leaving the European Union in October without a divorce deal passed the House of Commons.
Johnson said the only way forward out of the deadlock is an early election on October 15, two weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU.
"This house has left no other option but letting the public decide who is prime minister," Johnson said.
But while the government won the vote 298-56, it did not secure the required two-thirds majority of MPs.
It came after opposition lawmakers, supported by rebels in Johnson's Conservative Party, voted for the law which would block a no-deal departure on October 31.
The legislation passed the Commons, and will now go to Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords.
"There is very little time left," Labour Party lawmaker Hilary Benn said as he introduced the measure.
"The purpose of the bill is very simple: to ensure that the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on the 31st of October without an agreement."
Johnson earlier held his first Prime Minister Questions, and was slammed for "racist remarks".
Labour MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi criticised Johnson over previous marks regarding the burka.
Last year, Johnson used his newspaper column to describe women who wear the burka as looking like "letter boxes" and comparing them to "bank robbers".
"For those of us who have from a young age have had to endure being called names such as 'towel head' or 'Taliban' or coming from 'Bongo Bongo land' we can appreciate full well the hurt and pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers and letter boxes," Dhesi said.
"When will the prime minister finally apologise for his derogatory and racist remarks which have led to a spike in hate crime?" he added, as the chamber broke into huge applause and cheers.
He then said the prime minister should order an inquiry into Islamophobia within his party.
Johnson said his article was a "strong, liberal defence of everybody's right to wear whatever they want in this country".
Today's debate and voting over the no-deal Brexit bill leaves the EU-divorce up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole endeavour - both outcomes would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom's voters.
Johnson cast the rebellion as an attempt to surrender to the EU, vowed never to delay Brexit beyond October 31 and said the country needed an election. The government has scheduled a vote on an election on Wednesday evening (local time).
But opposition parties and rebels in his own party said they would not allow a no-deal Brexit to be "smuggled" through under the cover of an election.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told opposition parties on Wednesday Labour would not fall for "Boris Johnson's tricks" and would not support a new election until he was confident that the threat of a no deal Brexit had been removed.
One scenario is for opposition parties to defeat Johnson's bid for an election until they have passed their bill blocking a no-deal Brexit. Once in law, opposition parties could then agree to an election, possibly on October 15.
Beyond the frantic push and shove of British politics, the UK still fundamentally has three main Brexit options: leave with a deal, leave without a deal or cancel Brexit altogether.
An October election would open up three likely options: a Brexit-supporting government under Johnson, a Labour government led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn or a hung parliament that could lead to a coalition or minority government of some kind.
Johnson has promised to lead the UK out of the European Union with or without a deal, raising fears he could catapult the world's fifth largest economy into an abrupt departure from the bloc without agreement on how to handle everything from food regulations to car component imports.
In a sign of just how far Brexit has distorted British politics, Johnson's Conservatives vowed to expel the 21 rebels - including the grandson of Britain's World War Two leader Winston Churchill and two former finance ministers - from the party. Johnson also lost his working majority in parliament.
In one piece of good news for Johnson, the face of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, a Scottish court ruled that his decision to suspend parliament later this month was lawful.
Judge Raymond Doherty said the question was not a matter for the courts and was a political issue which should be judged by parliament and the electorate.
Johnson said he did not want a no-deal Brexit - which investors warn would roil financial markets and send shockwaves through the European economy - but it was necessary to put it on the table so that Britain could negotiate the result it wanted.
The EU has refused to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement reached with Johnson's predecessor Theresa May last November, and there were reports in British newspapers that Johnson's top adviser Dominic Cummings had described negotiations as a sham.
When asked on Wednesday if that was how he saw the Brexit negotiations with the EU, Cummings told Reuters: "No. I never said that."
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