Britain's leader Boris Johnson denied new Brexit after weekend Parliament snub

Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY

LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans received a fresh blow Monday as Parliament denied him a vote on his withdrawal agreement with the European Union just days after a similar vote was sabotaged by opposition and rebel parliamentarians. 

John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, said in an address to Britain's Parliament that it would be "repetitive and disorderly" to allow a new vote Monday.

It was the second time in 48 hours that Johnson's plan to get his EU divorce bill approved by Britain's Parliament was hindered at the last minute. 

In an unexpected twist to Brexit's monthslong stalemate, parliamentarians Saturday forced Johnson to ask the EU for an extension to his Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.

As part of that request, a vote on Johnson's EU exit agreement did not take place.

Lawmakers want more time to scrutinize the legislation and to make sure there is sufficient time to implement it, so a "no-deal" Brexit can be completely ruled out. 

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Johnson was forced by law to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension, which the EU has not yet granted, but he did not sign it and he made it clear that he was against any form of postponement to leaving the 28-nation bloc by Halloween. 

Johnson was hoping Parliament would approve the vote for Monday.

"This is the chance to leave the EU with a deal on Oct. 31," his Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay said ahead of the vote, urging Bercow to allow the vote to go ahead.

"If Parliament wants to respect the referendum, it must back the bill," he said. 

But Bercow said he couldn't allow the vote to take place because it was essentially the "same as Saturday's." He didn't specify when a new vote would happen.

It's not clear if there's enough time to meet Johnson's Oct. 31. Brexit deadline. 

It can take weeks or even months for legislation to wend its way through Parliament.

Lawmakers will start debating and voting in the House of Commons on various amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the deal's formal name, on Tuesday.

A new substantive vote on the deal could emerge by Wednesday or Thursday. 

Johnson's spokesman James Slack said the government was disappointed, accusing Bercow of denying "us a chance to deliver on the will of the British people."

Johnson is meanwhile pushing ahead with implementing legislation for the deal he agreed with the EU even though Parliament hasn't yet approved it, although for Brexit to take place lawmakers will need to pass judgment on the deal, according to Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. 

A vote in Parliament on Johnson's deal is theoretically the last major obstacle to winning approval for Britain's exit from the EU three years after a national referendum that has divided Britain. Theresa May stepped down as prime minister after repeatedly failing to get lawmakers to approve her divorce deal. And her predecessor, David Cameron, resigned after failing to predict the political chaos that Brexit would unleash. 

Johnson's deal resembles May's, although he has replaced the "backstop" – measures to prevent a post-Brexit return to a "hard" border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom – with "alternative arrangements" that allow some customs checks to take place on the UK mainland.

Frictionless trade between Ireland and Northern Ireland is one of the things that underpins the Good Friday Agreement, a peace deal between the British and Irish governments, and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland. 

Under a so-called no-deal Brexit, many of the laws and regulations that have governed Britain's four-decade relationship with the EU, from trade to security, would effectively evaporate overnight. Economists believe that it would significantly harm Britain's economy and threaten chaos on its borders. The British government claims that it has made adequate emergency preparations to cover just-in-time supply chains on which Britain relies for access to some fresh foods and essential medicines. 

It could be a few days before the EU decides to respond to the Brexit delay request.

"We will have somewhat more clarity in the coming days, and we will then exercise our responsibility and quickly make a decision," Germany’s Peter Altmaier said.

The EU may grant a short technical extension to allow Parliament to complete its passage of the legislation. Alternatively, if British lawmakers don't approve the deal or approve it subject to certain conditions the EU could opt for a longer extension. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Brexit: Boris Johnson denied new EU vote after weekend Parliament snub