Boris Johnson has suffered another crucial loss in Parliament after MPs voted to block a no-deal Brexit.
MPs voted by a margin of 327 votes to 299 to back a bill that seeks to delay Brexit beyond October 31 unless a deal is approved by Parliament or Parliament agrees to a no-deal exit by October 19.
The Prime Minister is now pushing for an early general election in an attempt to break the Brexit deadlock.
After the result was announced a furious Mr Johnson said: “It’s a Bill that effectively ends the negotiations, a Bill that demands an extension at least until next year, and perhaps many more years to come, and a Bill that insists Britain acquiesce to the demands of Brussels and hands control to our partners.”
The bill will now be debated in the House of Lords where Eurosceptic peers plan to block the bill by ‘filibustering’ - talking for so long there isn’t time for proceedings to finish.
In a bizarre twist MPs approved an amendment resurrecting Theresa May’s Brexit deal - possibly by accident.
The amendment, demanding a debate on Mrs May’s final Brexit offer that offered concessions following cross-party talks, was passed by default after nobody turned up to count the no votes.
It is unclear whether this was a deliberate Government ploy and the impact will be monitored in the coming days.
Mr Johnson challenged Jeremy Corbyn to agree to a snap election, accusing him of running scared from voters.
The PM asked the Labour leader: “Can he confirm now that he will allow the people of this country to decide on what he is giving up in their name with a general election on October 15 – or is he frit?”
Labour is not supporting Mr Johnson’s motion for an early general election, and it is therefore unlikely to reach the level of support required.
A Downing Street spokesman said the PM will not resign to force the country to head to the polls if the Government loses the Commons vote, telling a Westminster briefing: “He’s not going to step down. He wants an election.
“We will find a way to deliver on what the British people want, which is to deliver Brexit by October 31.
“If the PM cannot get the Bill through Parliament because Parliament is determined to wreck the negotiations, the only other option then is a general election.”