Boris Johnson gives up attempts to block Brexit delay bill

Boris Johnson gives up attempts to block Brexit delay bill
© Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday abandoned his efforts to block a law in the upper house of Parliament that would prevent the country from withdrawing from the European Union without a deal in place.

Members of Johnson’s Conservative Party in the House of Lords had initially prepared a slate of amendments to the legislation, which passed the House of Commons Wednesday, in the hopes of delaying a vote on it until Monday, when Parliament will be suspended. However, the party announced early Thursday that it was dropping its opposition, according to Reuters

ADVERTISEMENT

Richard Newby, an opposition member in the upper chamber, said the Conservative Party dropped its opposition after realizing it was “looking stupid.”

“There was a realization by those on the other side that this was more than usually stupid, and they were looking stupid, and we needed to find a way forward,” he told BBC Radio.

Johnson, who was one of the Brexit movements most vociferous advocates, has vowed to withdraw the United Kingdom from the EU by Oct. 31 with or without a deal and that he is opposed to any extension. However, he has suffered a series of setbacks in Parliament in recent days.

Besides Wednesday’s House of Commons vote to block a no-deal Brexit, lawmakers Tuesday also passed a bill paving the way for members to introduce a bill that would force the prime minister to ask the EU for a three-month extension if a deal is not made by Oct. 31. His party also lost its parliamentary majority Tuesday after Phillip Lee, a 27-year veteran of the House of Commons, joined the Liberal Democrats, specifically citing Johnson’s Brexit efforts.

Johnson called for a snap election after Tuesday’s defeat in the House of Commons, though that effort was defeated as well.

The controversy over Brexit has gripped British politics for months, producing the resignations of former Prime Ministers David Cameron and Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayNo 'post-Brexit doom' indeed: Watch Britain boldly move forward Labour's loss should tell Democrats not to tack too far to the left Is Corbyn handing Brexit to Boris Johnson? MORE and sparking turmoil in Parliament. Advocates of the break say the EU diminishes Britain’s sovereignty, while critics of the prospect say the body contributes to continental peace and economic prosperity.

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