(TELESUR) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Wednesday demanded an Oct. 15 snap election after lawmakers seeking to prevent a no-deal Brexit dealt him a humiliating defeat in parliament which he cast as an attempt to surrender to the European Union.
Parliament’s move leaves Brexit up in the air, with possible outcomes ranging from a turbulent no-deal exit to abandoning the whole endeavor – both outcomes would be unacceptable to swathes of the United Kingdom’s voters.
An alliance of opposition lawmakers backed by 21 rebels from Johnson’s Conservative Party defeated the government Tuesday on a motion allowing them to try to pass a law which would force a three-month-long extension to Britain’s EU exit date.
Johnson expelled the 21 Conservative members, including two former chancellors, Philip Hammond and Ken Clarke, along with Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames from the party after the defeat.
“I don’t recognize this. It’s the Brexit Party, rebadged,” Clarke said. “It’s been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who’s got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy [and] a Cabinet which is the most right-wing Cabinet any Conservative Party has ever produced.”
Johnson vowed never to delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31 and challenged opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to agree to an Oct. 15 election.
“Can I invite the leader of the opposition to confirm, when he stands up shortly, that if that surrender bill is passed, he will allow the people of this country to have their view on what he is proposing to hand over in their name with an election on October the 15th,” Johnson told parliament.
However, needing the backing of two-thirds of lawmakers, Johnson’s bid for an election is set to be initially thwarted as opposition parties are united in wanting to prevent a no-deal Brexit before agreeing to a vote.
In the meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have applied to register to vote in the past 48 hours. The deadline for applications would be Sept. 27 if a snap general election happens in October.