The Latest: UK opposition leader rejects PM’s election call

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People are silhouetted with umbrellas in the rain backdropped by the Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. In a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain’s highest court ruled Tuesday that his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country’s Brexit deadline was illegal. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s impending departure from the European Union (all times local):

7:05 p.m.

Britain’s main opposition leader has rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s taunting demand for a no-confidence vote in the government, saying he won’t support a new election unless a no-deal Brexit is ruled out.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says Johnson should secure a delay to Britain’s EU exit — scheduled for Oct. 31 — and “then let’s have an election.”

And he called for Johnson to resign over his illegal suspension of Parliament.

He said Johnson “should have done the honorable thing and resigned” after the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the prime minister’s attempt to shut down Parliament for five weeks was unlawful. Johnson says he won’t quit.

Johnson accuses his opponents of being scared of the verdict of the public for refusing to back an election.


6:45 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has dared opposition parties to try to topple his government with a no-confidence vote.

In an extremely unusual move, Johnson said the government would welcome a no-confidence motion from any of the opposition parties. He said he would make time for such a vote on Thursday.

If the government lost, a two-week period would be triggered in which Johnson or another lawmaker could try to form a new government and win a subsequent confidence vote.

If that failed, there would be an election.

Johnson wants to hold an election in hope of breaking the stalemate over Brexit that has left Britain’s departure, scheduled for Oct. 31, in limbo.

Earlier this month lawmakers twice rejected a call for a snap poll.

Opposition lawmakers say they won’t trigger an election until the risk of crashing out of the EU next month without a divorce deal has been eliminated.

Johnson accuses his opponents of being scared of the public.


3:50 p.m.

The European Parliament’s top Brexit official says that the British government’s proposals on how to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland do not meet the conditions necessary to force a breakthrough in the stalled negotiations between the U.K. and the EU.

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt told an EU parliamentary committee that the alternatives offered were “not meeting” the benchmarks the EU has set out for an orderly British exit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that the Irish border provision negotiated by his predecessor, Theresa May, is scrapped.

He also said the EU would be willing to grant an extension to Britain’s Oct. 31 Brexit date if London provided enough arguments to merit such a move.


12:50 p.m.

British Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has accused Parliament of being a “disgrace” as lawmakers returned for the first day of work since a bombshell court decision deemed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament illegal.

Cox’s baritone voice boomed across the House of Commons on Wednesday as he defended the advice he gave to Johnson saying the suspension was legal. He accused lawmakers of being “too cowardly” to vote for a motion of no-confidence in the government, which would trigger an early election.

Cox called it a “dead Parliament” that lacked the moral right “to sit on these green benches.”

Cox added, “this Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate, but it won’t, because so many of them are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union. But the time is coming, the time is coming, Mr. Speaker, when even these turkeys won’t be able to prevent Christmas.”


11:40 a.m.

Lawmakers at the House of Commons in London have resumed work after the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was illegal.

Parliament opened Wednesday morning, one day after the landmark ruling. The session was convened by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who had earlier called Johnson’s suspension a “constitutional outrage.”

Johnson is expected to face renewed calls for his resignation from some legislators. He says he will not step down.

Parliament is seeking to prevent Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 if no divorce deal is reached. Johnson says Britain will leave on that day with or without a deal.


10:30 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has flown back early to London, cutting short his visit to New York and the U.N. General Assembly because a court ruling that overturned his suspension of Parliament.

Lawmakers resumed work at the House of Commons on Wednesday following the bombshell Supreme Court ruling a day earlier that Johnson had acted illegally by suspending Parliament — in effect stymieing their efforts to consider laws surrounding Brexit.

Johnson remains on a collision course with Parliament over his determination to extract Britain from the EU on Oct. 31, even if no divorce deal is reached. Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension if there is no deal, but Johnson says he won’t do that under any circumstances.

Johnson will address Parliament on Wednesday afternoon but has begun to position himself as the champion of the people facing a recalcitrant establishment bent on frustrating the 2016 Brexit vote.


10 a.m.

British lawmakers are returning to the House of Commons following the bombshell Supreme Court ruling that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had acted illegally by suspending Parliament — in effect stymieing their efforts to consider laws surrounding Brexit.

The historic move backed Parliament’s sovereignty and slapped down what justices viewed as an effort by Johnson that essentially squelched debate on the most divisive political issue the country has faced in years. The prime minister hurried back to London after cutting short a trip to the U.N. General Assembly amid demands for his resignation from furious opposition parties.

In New York, Johnson brushed aside questions about whether he would resign, said he “strongly” disagreed with the court decision and suggested he might try to suspend Parliament for a second time.Cabinet minister Michael Gove says the government “respected” the court decision but refused to apologize for breaking the law.

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