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Boris Johnson launches bid for general election after humiliating defeat over no-deal Brexit

  • Boris Johnson suffers humiliating defeat over Brexit as MPs vote to take control of Parliament

  • MPs set to vote on bill that would block no deal Brexit on Wednesday

  • Prime Minister immediately launches bid for general election after crushing defeat

  • PM needs two-thirds majority to force October election

Boris Johnson is set to take his first PMQs on a crucial day for Brexit, following a night of drama, defeat and sackings.

The Prime Minister will face Jeremy Corbyn at the despatch box this afternoon, just hours after MPs voted to take control of the House of Commons agenda.

Last night’s crucial victory means they can now look to prevent the PM from taking the UK out of the EU without a Brexit deal in place.

Boris Johnson has lost a crucial vote on a no-deal Brexit in the House of Commons (PA Images)

Following PMQs, MPs will debate the draft legislation put forward by a cross-party group which would require a delay to Brexit unless there is a deal or Parliament explicitly backs leaving the EU without one by October 19.

A vote on a general election could be held later in the day after Mr Johnson suffered the humiliating defeat on Tuesday night,

Mr Johnson accused Parliament of being “on the brink of wrecking any deal” with the EU after the result was announced.

Former chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond had the whip removed after rebelling against Boris Johnson (PA Images)

21 Conservatives rebelled against their party, despite warnings they will be expelled from the party and prevented from standing in future elections.

The rebel Tories, including former Chancellor Philip Hammond, all had the whip removed.

After his sacking, Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke said he was still a conservative but he had reservations about the party under Mr Johnson's leadership.

He told BBC's Newsnight: "I don't recognise this. It's the Brexit Party, rebadged.

"It's been taken over by a rather knockabout sort of character, who's got this bizarre crash-it-through philosophy... a Cabinet which is the most right-wing Cabinet any Conservative Party has ever produced."

Kenneth Clarke said the Conservative party was now 'the Brexit Party rebadged' (PA)

Mr Clarke added he was sceptical about whether Mr Johnson was looking for a deal with the European Union ahead of the proposed Brexit date of October 31.

He told the programme: "He's obviously not trying to get a deal. I'm sure he'd prefer one if he thought he could get one past his right-wing supporters.

"But he's dug himself in, he assumes he's going to get no deal. Because he can't get the right wing of the Conservative Party, many of them now stuck in his Cabinet, to agree to it."

Tory former minister Sam Gyimah, who rebelled against the Government, said: “It’s never pleasant to vote against your party.

Result of the House of Commons vote to introduce legislation on September 3 to stop a no-deal Brexit on October 31. Infographic from PA Graphics.

“We were all individually contacted before the vote by the whips and told we’d have the whip removed if we voted against the motion.

“It’s a sad moment. I’ve enjoyed being a Conservative Member of Parliament but voting to stop a no-deal was the right thing to do.”

The Government lost by 328 votes to 301 - a larger defeat than expected.

Speaking after the result the PM said: “The consequences of this vote tonight means that Parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal that we might be able to get in Brussels.

“It will hand control of the negotiations to the EU.”

The PM will try to push for an early general election (PA)

Following the loss of the whip of 21 Tories and Phillip Lee crossing the floor, Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems now have a notional majority of five in Parliament.

The Prime Minister has made it clear he intends to seek an early general election rather than ask Brussels for a further extension to the deadline.

He said: “I don’t want an election but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop negotiations and to compel another pointless delay to Brexit potentially for years then that would be the only way to resolve this.

“I can confirm that we are tonight tabling a motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act.”

Mr Johnson needs two thirds of MPs to vote in favour of an election in order to send the UK to the polls.

But Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would not back an election until no deal was taken off the table.

The opposition leader said the Government must “get the Bill through first in order to take no-deal off the table”.

Mr Johnson earlier begged Tory rebels not to take no deal off the table during a fiery Commons debate.

He said the threat of no deal was a necessary tool in negotiations and that blocking it would allow the EU to ‘dictate’ the course of Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn said Labour would not back a general election until no deal had been taken off the table (PA Images)

The Prime Minister told the Commons: “This House has never before voted to force the Prime Minister to surrender such a crucial decision to the discretion of our friends and neighbours overseas.

“What is this bill would mean is that unless we agree to the terms of our friends and partners they would be able to keep us in the EU for as long as they want and on their terms.

“I urge therefore this House to reject this Bill tonight so that we can get the right deal for our country, deliver Brexit and take the whole country forward.”

He also said his Government would “obey the law” when pressed by opposition MPs, amid concerns over how he will respond to any legislation which blocks a no-deal Brexit.

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