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MPs vote to reject Conservative Brexit timetable

The government has suffered another defeat after parliament voted against the Prime Minister's Brexit timetable.

Following the publication of his Withdrawal Agreement Bill last night, Boris Johnson had told MPs he'd drop the bill and call an election if they rejected his three-day programme.

The House of Commons. Picture: Parliament TV
The House of Commons. Picture: Parliament TV

But MPs voted against the timetable set out by the government by 322 votes for 308 - a majority of 14.

It came after MPs had earlier voted to give the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill a second reading by 329 votes to 299 - a majority of 30.

Analysts say it effectively means parliament has backed Boris Johnson's deal, but want more time to scrutinise it.

Speaking immediately after the results were announced, the Prime Minister said the Brexit process would be paused while he speaks to EU officials to get their views on the way forward.

Kent MP demands Brexit reassurances

However, he warned voting against the government's timetable could potentially increase the chances of a no-deal Brexit.

More likely is it could also lead to another extension to the UK's withdrawal from the EU - expected to be until January.

Passing the Conservative motion would have allowed for a meaningful vote to take place only three days after the 110-page document was released, however, opposition members have insisted since the bill's unveiling that this isn't enough time to fully scrutinise it.

Mr Johnson said during today's debate ahead of the vote that if it was rejected and the EU granted an extension, a general election would be sought.

Tonight's result comes after an important defeat for the Conservatives on Saturday, which saw a 322 to 306 decision to delay Britain's departure.

All of Kent's Conservative MPs toed the party line then, and had announced earlier that they'll follow suit with tonight's vote.

Tom Tugendhat - MP for Tonbridge and Malling - retweeted a post saying "#takethedamndeal"

The Independent MP for Dover, Charlie Elphicke, tweeted today: "Labour’s Parliamentary wrecking tactics show how they are trying to subvert democracy and subvert the democratic will of the British people.

"It’s time to get Brexit done and move forward."

However he questioned the PM in Commons, asking whether the new withdrawal bill would leave Kent without traffic "problems".

Mr Johnson simply answered: "The best way to avoid any problems, whatever, is to vote for this deal tonight."

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