In Summary
  • In an impassioned resignation speech, speaker John Bercow also told MPs he would step down by October 31 at the latest.
  • The British leader ordered the shutdown in an apparent bid to stymie a cross-party block by MPs opposed to a possible no-deal Brexit.

London,

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced another parliamentary defeat Monday in a vote on holding early elections as Brexit turmoil deepened with the House of Commons speaker promising to resign within weeks.

Parliament will be suspended for five weeks immediately after the vote, leaving Johnson to attempt to salvage his hardline Brexit strategy amid fierce opposition in Westminster and scepticism in Brussels.

The controversial suspension will begin shortly after MPs are set to vote again against Johnson's bid to hold a snap election next month -- just before the country is due to leave the European Union on October 31.

PROROGUED

"Parliament will be prorogued at close of business today," Johnson's spokesman said at a daily briefing, using the parliamentary term for the suspension.

The attempt to force an election follows another tumultuous day in parliament that saw legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit on October 31 become law.

In an impassioned resignation speech, speaker John Bercow also told MPs he would step down by October 31 at the latest.

Bercow has faced withering criticism from eurosceptics for a perceived anti-Brexit bias, but has been praised by supporters for sticking up for parliament's right to have a say in the tortuous Brexit process.

He visibly fought back tears as he thanked his wife and children for their support.

"We degrade this parliament at our peril," he warned lawmakers, to a sustained standing ovation from largely opposition MPs.

NO APOLOGY

Bercow added he would make "absolutely no apology to anyone anywhere at any time" for his defence of parliament's right to have its say on the Brexit process.

Johnson held talks with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar in Dublin before returning to the parliamentary turmoil later Monday to kick off the debate over holding an election.

The British leader ordered the shutdown in an apparent bid to stymie a cross-party block by MPs opposed to a possible no-deal Brexit.

He has vowed to take Britain out of the EU by the October 31 deadline with or without a formal divorce deal -- despite warnings that the latter scenario would entail economic chaos.

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