UK Parliament advances Brexit bill in second blow to Boris Johnson in 24 hours

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom Wednesday voted to advance a bill that would block a “no deal” Brexit, handing Prime Minister Boris Johnson his second major defeat in less than 24 hours.

The House of Commons approved the bill by a 329-300 margin, setting off a series of steps that will allow Members of Parliament to introduce amendments before a final vote for passage. 

Wednesday’s vote comes less than a day after Parliament passed a bill allowing members to introduce legislation that would force Johnson to ask the European Union (EU) for a three-month extension if a deal is not made by Oct. 31, the deadline set by the prime minister for the so-called Brexit.

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Johnson has called for new elections, but that must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons.

The Labour Party has already said it does not support a snap election, with party leader Jeremy Corbyn saying he wants to pass legislation guaranteeing that Britain will not leave the EU without a deal before he agrees to a new election.

The debate over a Brexit deadline has gripped the U.K. for months, leading to the downfall of former Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief defends Milley after Trump book criticism | Addresses critical race theory | Top general says Taliban has 'strategic momentum' in war Will Ocasio-Cortez challenge Biden or Harris in 2024? The Hill's Morning Report - Biden takes office, calls for end to 'uncivil war' MORE, who was unable to pass a Brexit bill through Parliament.

Johnson, one of the Brexit movement’s fiercest advocates, had declared he intended to withdraw the U.K. from the EU by the end of October regardless of whether London could reach a deal with Europe.

Johnson last month cut the length of time Parliament would have to debate Brexit, raising an outcry by the opposition as well as members of his own party.

Johnson’s Conservative Party on Tuesday lost its parliamentary majority after Phillip Lee, a 27-year veteran of the House of Commons, defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Lee was the third member of parliament to join the Liberal Democrats in recent months, bringing their count up to 15 out of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party announced Tuesday that it is moving to expel lawmakers from the party who voted against Johnson’s efforts Tuesday.

Fifty-two percent of British voters supported a referendum in 2016 to leave the EU.

—Updated at 1:22 p.m.