Lawmakers in the UK have backed legislation to stop the country from crashing out of the EU without a deal and then blocked Boris Johnson's bid to call for an early election, giving the prime-minister a double defeat.
Johnson's Conservative Party failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to call a snap election, mustering only 298 of the 434 votes required. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour wanted an election but its priority was stopping a no-deal Brexit.
After the vote went badly against him, Johnson chided opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before MPs.
The PM will not do this"
"I think [Corbyn] has become the first opposition leader in the history of our country to refuse the invitation to head to a general election," said Johnson. "I can only speculate as to the reasons behind his hesitation, the obvious conclusion is I'm afraid that he does not think he will win."
The opposition said they should now be able to pass the bill before Johnson suspends parliament for over a month next week.
"Govt commits to allowing (the draft legislation) to complete all stages in course of Thurs & Friday - with the bill then going back to the Commons for any further consideration on Monday," the Labour party tweeted early on Thursday.
The bill states the prime minister will have until 19 October to either pass a deal in Parliament or get MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit - and after that he will have to request an extension to the UK's departure date to 31 January 2020.
Number 10 said the bill "would in essence overturn the biggest democratic vote in our history - the 2016 referendum". "The PM will not do this," a source told the BBC.
It's been an honour to represent Orpington for 9 years & to serve as a minister under three PMs. In recent weeks I've been torn between family loyalty and the national interest - it's an unresolvable tension & time for others to take on my roles as MP & Minister. #overandout— Jo Johnson (@JoJohnsonUK) September 5, 2019
Meanwhile, the prime minister's brother Jo Johnson has quit as Tory MP and minister, saying he is "torn between family and national interest".
Jo Johnson's resignation comes as the pound hits a five-week high, on hopes that a no-deal Brexit can be avoided.
Sterling has rallied to $1.2345 this morning, its highest level since late July. It has now gained almost four cents since Tuesday, it's best two-day run in 10 months, as investors welcome efforts to prevent Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Independent MP Luciana Berger, who left the Labour Party for Change UK earlier this year, has joined the Liberal Democrats, saying she was joining "in the national interest, to offer a vital, positive alternative to Johnson and Corbyn".
Many economists, business leaders, health sector administrators and political analysts had said that a no deal Brexit would hurt EU economies, but would be disastrous for the UK, leading to shortages of medicine and fresh food - among other consequences.
Johnson, facing growing anger from Tory MPs over his handling of Brexit, has been left trapped in 10 Downing Street by a hostile parliament.