U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson began moves to trigger a snap general election after suffering a humiliating defeat for his Brexit strategy that left his ruling party in tatters.
A fresh poll to choose a new government would mark the climax of the political chaos that has engulfed Britain for the past three years since the country voted narrowly to leave the European Union in a referendum in 2016.
That Brexit vote ended the premiership of David Cameron and the failure to deliver on it saw his successor, Theresa May, forced out in July. Now after only six weeks in the top job, Johnson himself is staring into the abyss, with Brexit divisions shredding his Conservative administration.
On Tuesday, he lost his ruling majority when one of his own Tory MPs defected to join the Liberal Democrats. Six hours later, Johnson’s first test in a Commons vote ended in a heavy and damaging defeat. He retaliated by firing rebels from his party.
Members of the House of Commons voted 328 to 301 to take a crucial first step toward forcing the prime minister to delay Brexit by three months in an effort to stop a no-deal split. It’s a delay he has repeatedly rejected under all circumstances.