Brexit extension likely as Johnson’s bid to fast-track Bill is defeated

PM calls approval of Bill’s second reading ‘joyful’, while Tusk says he will back delay


UK prime minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons after several MPs who supported the principle of key legislation opposed efforts to fast-track it through the Commons. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

By Denis Staunton of The Irish Times

Boris Johnson was last night preparing to discuss with EU leaders the terms of a delay to Brexit after MPs voted in favour of his withdrawal agreement Bill but rejected a timetable that would have passed it by October 31st.

MPs approved the Bill’s second reading by 329 to 299, a majority of 30 and the first time the House of Commons has voted for any Brexit deal.

But they rejected the timetable, which would have seen the Bill pass through all its stages in the Commons, by 322 votes to 308. The DUP, which has rejected the Brexit deal because of its proposed arrangements for Northern Ireland, voted against the government in both votes.

Mr Johnson welcomed the majority for the deal as “joyful” but said the rejection of his timetable meant he would pause the legislation.

“I will speak to EU member states about their intentions. Until they have reached a decision – until we reach a decision, I will say – we will pause this legislation,” he said.

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