Update 2: To recap, Prime Minister Johnson has had a miserable day. Not only did he lose his majority in Parliament, but his plan to 'prorogue' Parliament ahead of 'Brexit Day' is now in jeopardy, as FT politics editor George Parker explains.
Johnson might not have enough support to hold a general election, his backup plan.
To recap. Today @BorisJohnson majority went from +1 to -43. He lost his first vote as prime minister. His Brexit strategy is being "wrecked", say No 10. He wants an election but may not be able to get it - at least not on his terms. And he's thrown Ken Clarke out of the party— George Parker (@GeorgeWParker) September 3, 2019
Just to explain the maths on this, if you take 21 people out of the Conservative column (by removing the whip) the sacked MP then counts in the opposition column. So, following Phillip Lee's defection to the Lib Dems (which took maj to -1) you then double up the 21 to 42. = -43 https://t.co/6OHQ9FEall— George Parker (@GeorgeWParker) September 3, 2019
In what appears to be an effort to force his MPs to fall in line ahead of Brexit Day, Johnson is reportedly planning to expel nearly 2 dozen MPs from the party, which Brexit Party founder Nigel Farage celebrated as a real act of leadership.
If @BorisJohnson confirms that 21 Remainer Tory rebels will be kicked out of the party, that would be an act of real leadership.— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 3, 2019
In an ominous tweet, Farage's Brexit Party account said whether or not Johnson is prepared for a general election, "We are ready for one."
Boris may not be prepared for a general election, but We Are Ready for one! https://t.co/SQ8YYYpUaQ— The Brexit Party (@brexitparty_uk) September 3, 2019
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Update: As the public increasingly panics about the ramifications of a 'no-deal' Brexit, the UK government just unveiled $2.4 billion of additional Brexit financing.
- U.K. ANNOUNCES $2.4B OF EXTRA BREXIT FUNDING
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Having suddenly lost his parliamentary majority earlier today, and having accused opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn of intentionally weakening the UK's hand in Brexit negotiations, Boris Johnson (BoJo) just suffered - as expected - another setback as the UK parliament voted to seize control of parliamentary business (and negate BoJo's prorogue).
The ayes win by 328 votes to 301. There were 21 Tory rebels, including many former ministers.
"Parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal that we might get."
Rebel UK lawmakers now aim to pass legislation that would force Johnson to delay Brexit if he hasn't reached a deal with EU leaders in Brussels (implicitly blocking a no-deal Brexit).
However, BoJo has confirmed he will try to trigger a snap election (the country's third in just over four years) for Oct. 14 if he lost control of the agenda, and now that he has, we will have to see how the process evolves. Notably, Johnson's office doubled-down on a threat to expel any Tory who votes against the government tonight – saying even those who abstain will be ejected. However, as one rebel (Dominic Grieve) noted, it's not going to work:
“If he thinks that the device of withdrawing the whip this evening is going to change my mind or that of my honorable and right honorable friends he has got another thing coming, because it will be treated with the contempt it deserves.”
And as we have seen, it didn't. The question now is - will BoJo eject all the rebels.
As Bloomberg details, BoJo needs the votes of two-thirds of MPs to trigger an election -- 434 of them. His government includes only 311 -- even fewer if he starts throwing out rebels, as he’s threatened to do. Making up the difference should be straightforward: The opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose socialist agenda roils financial markets, has been asking for an election since he narrowly lost the last one in June 2017.
Bloomberg's Ian Wishart notes, however, that the EU fears the unpredictability of an election, and many in European governments fear a Corbyn premiership. But there's also a school of thought here that an election will strengthen a prime minister's hand and ultimately that will help conclude a deal in the end.
The pound is stable for now...
Nigel Farage warns "we are in for the fight of our lives..."
I fear that we are rapidly headed towards a very dark place. pic.twitter.com/uGwhI6qJ6E— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 3, 2019