But the prime minister immediately told the House of Commons that he will not negotiate an extension of Brexit negotiations beyond his 31 October deadline, despite a law requiring him to do so.
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In dramatic scenes in theHouse of Commons, an amendment delaying a meaningful vote on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal deal was passed by a margin of 322 votes to 306, to deafening cheers from thousands of second referendum supporters at the Together for the Final Say rally outside in Parliament Square.
The vote means Mr Johnson cannot secure parliamentary approval his deal by the end of 19 October and is required by the terms of the so-called Benn Act to write to Brussels to ask for an extension to the end of January 2020.
But he told MPs: “Alas, the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has effectively been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning. I wish the house to know I’m not daunted or dismayed by this particular result.
“I continue in the very strong belief that the best thing for the UK and the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on 31 October. And, to anticipate the questions that are coming from the benches opposite, I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so. “
Mr Johnson said further delay would be “bad for this country, bad for the EU and bad for democracy”.
Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs that the government will now retable the motion for a “meaningful vote” under the terms of the EU Withdrawal Act on Monday.
The amendment tabled by former Conservative cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin was passed with the help of all DUP MPs, as well as the vast majority of Labor MPs and all other opposition parties. Some six Labor MPs and 17 independents backed the prime minister.
The European Commission said in a statement that it “takes note of the vote in the House of Commons today on the so-called Letwin Amendment meaning that the Withdrawal Agreement itself was not put to vote today”.
The statement, issued by spokeswoman Mina Andreeva, added: “It will be for the UK government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible.”