UK parliament rejects Johnson's snap election call
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suffered another humiliating defeat in Britain's Parliament after his second bid for a snap general election was rejected by MPs.
The setback came on a tumultuous day for Mr Johnson, who was also ordered to hand over private messages and emails sent by no-deal Brexit aides and plotters.
Mr Johnson said he wanted to head to the polls next month to break the political deadlock, as he accused opposition parties of making "outrageous excuses" to delay.
But Labour and other opposition MPs refused to back the bid - which needed a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons - while the risk of a no-deal remained.
MPs voted 293 to 46, short of the 434 needed - marking the new prime minister's sixth Commons defeat.
Legislators have 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 is blindingly obvious why we are being shut down — to prevent scrutiny," Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said.
Under parliamentary rules, the government is obliged to release the documents.
In a statement, the government said it would "consider the implications of this vote and respond in due course."
Number 10 sources are likely to seek legal action, rather than reveal private text messages, WhatsApp chats, Facebook communications and all other social media correspondence, The Guardian reports.
Mr Johnson said Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn had become the first leader of the opposition in the country's history to "show his confidence" in the government "by declining the opportunity to have an election with a view to removing the government".
But amid stormy scenes in the chamber Mr Corbyn said he would not let his party walk into "traps laid by this prime minister".
"This government is only interested in shutting down parliament to avoid any scrutiny," Mr Corbyn said.
Mr Johnson insisted he would not ask for another Brexit delay, despite royal assent being given to legislation requiring a delay to Brexit beyond October 31 unless a divorce deal is approved or parliament agrees to leaving the EU without one by October 19.
Meanwhile, Speaker John Bercow, whose control of business in the Commons has made him a central player in the Brexit drama, announced he would step down after a decade in the job.
Britain is due to leave the EU on October 31, and Mr Johnson says the country's delayed exit must happen then, with or without a divorce agreement to smooth the way. Many lawmakers fear a no-deal Brexit would be economically devastating, and are determined to stop him.
An opposition-backed law compelling the government to seek a three-month delay from the EU if no deal has been agreed by October 19 became law Monday after receiving royal assent.
Mr Johnson has said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than postpone Brexit, but has few easy ways out of it. His options — all of them extreme — include disobeying the law, which could land him in court or even prison, and resigning so that someone else would have to ask for a delay.
The prime minister has had a turbulent week since Parliament returned from its summer break on September 3.
He kicked 21 lawmakers out of the Conservative group in Parliament after they sided with the opposition, and saw two ministers quit his government — one of them his own brother.
Opponents call the suspension anti-democratic and illegal, but Mr Johnson says he is cutting short the parliamentary term so he can outline his domestic agenda at a new session of Parliament in October.
Mr Johnson repeated his insistence Monday that Britain must exit the EU on October 31, but acknowledged that leaving without an agreement on divorce terms "would be a failure of statecraft" for which he would be partially to blame.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2019