At a special session of Parliament intended to ratify the deal, lawmakers voted 322-306 to withhold their approval on the Brexit deal until legislation to implement it has been passed, according to AP.
The vote aims to ensure that the UK cannot crash out of the EU without a divorce deal on the scheduled Oct. 31 departure date. But it means Johnson must ask the EU to delay Britain’s departure, since Parliament previously passed a law compelling him to do that, if a Brexit divorce deal were not passed by Saturday.
The government still hopes it can pass the needed legislation by the end of the month so the UK can leave on time.
A defiant Johnson said after the vote that he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the result and would push ahead. He planned to introduce the Brexit-implementing legislation to parliament on Monday.
He implied he would request a three-month delay as required but argued against any postponement.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” Johnson said. “I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I’ve told everyone in the last 88 days that I’ve served as prime minister: that further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.”
Opposition lawmakers warned that Johnson must ask for the extension or face legal consequences.
Thousands of anti-Brexit protesters gathered outside Britain’s Parliament cheered as lawmakers voted on Saturday to withhold support for Johnson’s EU exit deal, Reuters reported.
“Hear us!” many of the protesters said outside the parliament building while others chanted “People’s vote!”
Hundreds of thousands of Britons had marched through central London toward Parliament to demand a new Brexit referendum, with many crowding into the grass square outside to watch the result on a big screen.