Brexit bill passes UK upper house in blow for Johnson

London, Sept 6 (AFP/APP):Britain’s upper house on Friday gave final approval to a law that would force Boris Johnson to delay Brexit, in a fresh setback for the British Prime Minister who is struggling in his bid to call an early election.

The draft, which now requires formal assent by Queen Elizabeth II to become law, would seek to postpone Brexit beyond the current deadline of October 31 if Johnson does not manage to strike a divorce agreement with the EU next month.

Johnson, who has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay, wants an early general election that could give him a mandate to take Britain out of the European Union with or without a divorce deal.

He spent Friday morning campaigning in Scotland among fishermen, who strongly backed the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Johnson received a boost when the High Court in London rejected a legal challenge against his decision to suspend parliament from next week.

But it granted permission for the case to go to the Supreme Court for an appeal scheduled for September 17.

“My legal team and I will not give up the fight for democracy,” pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller told reporters.

Johnson has branded the bill a “surrender” that would allow the other 27 EU leaders to dictate the terms on which Britain leaves its closest neighbours after 46 years.

He sacked 21 Conservative rebels who voted for the legislation in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
The decision left him without a working majority in parliament.

Johnson’s opponents are now widely expected to block for the second time Monday his attempt to schedule snap polls for October 15.

“Never in history has there been an opposition party that has been given a chance to have an election and has turned it down,” Johnson said in Scotland.

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