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UK House of Commons rejects premier's early parliamentary polls initiative

The initiative gained the support of only 299 lawmakers, well below the required minimum of 434 votes

LONDON, October 29. /TASS/. The House of Commons of the UN parliament rejected on Monday night UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s initiative to hold early parliamentary elections in the country on December 12.

During the vote, broadcast live by the parliamentary channel, the initiative gained the support of only 299 lawmakers, well below the required minimum of 434 votes, or two thirds of the parliament.

About 70 lawmakers voted against the bill. The second-largest party in the parliament, the Labor Party, has already blocked similar attempts by Johnson twice.

The UK premier, who accused his political rivals of disregarding the interests of the UK people, said the fourth attempt to secure early parliamentary elections will follow soon. Later on Monday, his cabinet is expected to submit a bill allowing to set the date for early polls by a simple majority.

"Later on this evening, the government will give notice of presentation for a short bill for an election on the 12th of December so we can finally get Brexit done," Johnson said.

Earlier, Johnson accused the parliament of holding the entire country "hostage," adding that the uncertainty over Brexit prevents families and entrepreneurs from planning their future.

"Parliament cannot hold the country hostage any longer," Johnson said. "Millions of businesses and people cannot plan their futures, this paralysis is causing real damage and the country must move on in 2020."

"I don’t believe that this paralysis and stagnation should be allowed to continue," he said.


Parliament impasse

The need for early elections came into spotlight after the parliament’s October 22 vote, during which the House of Commons rejected the premier’s proposal to consider and adopt within three days a bill on Brexit, based on Johnson’s deal with the EU. At the same time, lawmakers de-facto approved the draft October 17 agreement with Brussels, passing it in the second reading on the same day.

The setback made the Brexit delay, which the EU agreed to grant to London earlier on Monday, almost inevitable. Johnson had to accept the extension, thus violating his main campaign promise to get the Brexit done on October 31. Johnson, however, said his hands were tied by the parliament and its bill, adopted in September.

After last week’s defeat, Johnson temporarily suspended his Brexit bill and made the cabinet focus on early elections intended to overcome the parliamentary impasse.

In line with the 2011 bill on parliamentary powers, early elections can be declared only if supported by two thirds of lawmakers (343 MPs). Given the current parliamentary makeup, the early polls initiative requires the approval of at least one quarter of all Labor party members in parliament.

The bill which Johnson is now set to submit is intended to allow him appoint the election date with a simple majority.

The UK government is expected to formally submit the bill on Tuesday.