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Wednesday, February 19, 2020
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Johnson’s Brexit in limbo


LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hardline Brexit strategy stood in tatters on Thursday after a humiliating week left him without a working majority, but unable to call an election.

His supporters ended a night-long filibuster in the upper House of Lords when the government gave up trying to block a measure designed to stop a no-deal Brexit by forcing Johnson to seek a delay if he fails to reach an agreement with Brussels.

The opposition said they should now be able to pass the bill — which he has branded a “surrender document’’— before he suspends parliament for over a month next week.

“Govt commits to allowing [the draft legislation] to complete all stages in course of Thursday and Friday — with the bill then going back to the Commons for any further consideration on Monday,” the main opposition Labor Party tweeted in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The lower House of Commons fast-tracked the legislation on Wednesday and then blocked Johnson’s call for an early election that he wants held on October 15.

Labor said it would only back the snap poll once it makes sure Johnson is unable to follow through on his threat to take Britain out of the EU with no deal by the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Parliament has now dealt Johnson a rapid series of stinging defeats that have left him a weakened leader just six weeks into his term.

The splintered country still stands no closer to finding out how or when — or even if — it will leave the European Union more than three years after the original Brexit vote.

Johnson will also face another legal challenge on Thursday against his decision to order the suspension of parliament from next week until October 14 — a move that his critics have called a “coup” and a “constitutional outrage.”

It set the stage for the current furore in Westminster that Johnson tried to stamp out by expelling 21 of its own MPs for voting with the opposition.

They included former finance minister Philip Hammond and grandee Ken Clarke — the longest-serving member of Parliament — along with Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames.

Johnson himself will be on a campaign footing on Thursday as he launches a national effort to recruit 20,000 police officers in Yorkshire in northern England.

The prime minister will also on Thursday host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United States Vice President Mike Pence.

He received an endorsement on Wednesday from US President Donald Trump.


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Today’s Front Page February 19, 2020

Today’s Front Page February 19, 2020