Tue, 12 Nov 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan for the country to leave the European Union faces two key votes in the House of Commons Tuesday.

Lawmakers will gather later in the evening to approve Johnson's 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which would approve the British leader's Brexit deal with the EU, in principle. If the bill is approved, the MPs would then vote on a separate bill that sets a rapid three-day timetable to formally approve the legislation.

"The public doesn't want anymore delays, neither do European leaders and neither do I," Johnson said Monday. "Let's get Brexit done on October 31 and let's move on."

It is unclear whether the government has the votes or time to enact the legislation before Britain's planned departure from the EU on next Thursday.

Johnson struck a surprise Brexit deal with the 27 other EU countries last Thursday, but lawmakers voted to delay their backing for the agreement until legislation is approved spelling out the terms of Britain's split from the EU after 46 years of membership in the continent's coalition. They also approved a measure that forced Johnson to send a letter to the EU asking for a Brexit delay until January 31, which he did not sign. He sent another signed note as well saying he opposes any delay.

Johnson suffered another setback Monday when Parliament Speaker John Bercow blocked the House of Commons from holding a new vote on Brexit, saying "it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so."

British lawmakers are debating whether to leave with a deal with the other EU countries, without a deal or hold another referendum. British voters narrowly favored Brexit in a 2016 referendum, but British leaders have failed since then to draft an exit plan with the EU that also could clear the House of Commons.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May resigned in Johnson's favor after parliament three times defeated her Brexit proposals.

The constant delays have led to rising frustration with EU officials. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, that the Brexit quagmire in London was "a waste of time and energy" for the EU, and that European Parliament can not ratify the deal until the British parliament does.

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