The Latest: Johnson urges lawmakers to back Oct. 15 poll

LONDON — The Latest on Britain's bid to leave the European Union (all times local):

8:05 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is asking lawmakers to back his call for a snap election on Oct. 15, after the House of Commons moved to stop him leading the country out of the European Union without a divorce deal.

Johnson says "there is only one way forward for the country" — a vote to determine who should govern.

Johnson needs the support of two-thirds of lawmakers to call an election, and he is unlikely to get it on Wednesday.

Opposition parties say they won't back an election until a law has been passed to prevent a no-deal Brexit.


7:55 p.m.

Britain's House of Commons has approved an attempt by lawmakers to stop the country leaving the European Union in October without a divorce deal, sending it to Parliament's unelected upper chamber for debate.

The House of Commons voted 327-299 to approve a bill that would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a further delay to Brexit rather than leave the EU without an agreement on the scheduled departure date of Oct. 31.

Lawmakers hope to have it passed into law by the end of the week. But pro-Brexit members of the House of Lords are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering — talking so much time runs out.

Johnson says Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a deal, and plans to seek a snap election if the opposition bill becomes law.


5:25 p.m.

An attempt by British lawmakers to stop the country leaving the European Union in October without a divorce deal has passed its first major hurdle in Parliament.

The House of Commons voted 329-300 to approve the bill in principle, sending it on for further debate and another vote later Wednesday.

If the legislation is approved by the House of Commons it will go to Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords. Pro-Brexit peers are threatening to try to stop it by filibustering — talking so much time runs out.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Britain must leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a deal, and plans to seek a snap election if the opposition bill becomes law.


4:15 p.m.

Finland's prime minister, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, says there isn't widespread support within the bloc to grant Britain a further Brexit extension.

Antti Rinne told reporters at the Finnish Parliament that the bloc would require "some sort of future scenario ... to underline that something sensible could start happening."

He said there is "no sense" in granting Britain an extension to the current Brexit date of Oct. 31 "that seems to lead nowhere, and I don't think it's possible to find majority support (among the 27 other EU members) for such an extension."

British lawmakers are set to vote later on a bill that effectively authorizes the government to seek an extension if a Brexit deal is not agreed with the EU before the scheduled departure date.


3 p.m.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says food prices in Britain probably won't increase as much as previously thought if the country leaves the EU without a deal.

Carneys told British lawmakers on Wednesday the tariff schedule the government published is lower than the bank predicted in November. It warned at then that food prices could rise by 10% in the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.

He says food prices are anticipated now to rise by 5% to 6%, and that would largely be a result of a fall in the value of the pound.

Carney says the bank expects the pound to fall if the U.K. leaves without a withdrawal Brexit and raise the cost of imported goods.

Overall, the bank is expecting inflation to more than double from the current rate around 2% to more than 5%, largely because of higher imports.


2:55 p.m.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says the British economy is in better shape to cope with a no-deal Brexit and that another extension to the country's departure from the European Union could help further.

Addressing lawmakers on Wednesday, Carney said the bank's worst-case scenario over the impact of a no-deal Brexit was "less severe" than November.

It warned then the British economy could shrink 8% in the months after a disorderly departure.

Carney didn't directly quantify the scale of the likely output drop but has previously indicated that it would be more in the 5%-6% range.

He said "more can be accomplished" if there is a further Brexit delay to Jan. 31.

In the event Britain crashes out of the EU on the scheduled Brexit date of Oct. 31 without a deal, Carney said the bank can provide liquidity and lower the buffers banks have so they can lend more. However, he says interest rates could go either way.


2:45 p.m.

A lawmaker for Britain's opposition Labour Party has gotten an unusual round of applause after challenging Prime Minister Boris Johnson to apologize for comparing Muslim women who wear face-covering veils to "letter boxes."

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi took on Johnson during the prime minister's weekly question-and-answer session before the House of Commons on Wednesday. Dhesi asked Johnson to say he was sorry for the "derogatory and divisive" remarks in a newspaper column.

The Sikh lawmaker said that "for those of us from a young age who have had to endure and face up to being called names such as towel head or Taliban or coming from Bongo Bongo land, we can appreciate full well the hurt and the pain felt by already vulnerable Muslim women when they are described as looking like bank robbers or letter boxes."

Johnson demurred, saying his remarks were taken out of context.


1:30 p.m.

The European Union is warning businesses and people likely to be hit by Brexit to make sure they are prepared for the possibility that Britain might leave the bloc without an agreement at the end of next month.

The EU's executive arm, the European Commission, on Wednesday released a checklist for companies to use to help minimize expected disruptions to trade after Britain departs on Oct 31.

The commission says EU funds set up to respond to natural disasters and help people whose jobs are hit by major changes in world trade should be used to help businesses, workers and countries hardest hit by any no-deal.

A total of 780 million euros ($860 million) would be available, if the EU parliament and member countries endorse the move. Britain would have no access to the money.


1:20 p.m.

The German government is leaving open the question of whether it would support another delay to Britain's departure from the European Union.

It is standing by Chancellor Angela Merkel's previous comments that the two sides can still work toward a deal by the Oct. 31 deadline "if the will is there is both sides."

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, refused to comment directly on the latest goings-on in Britain's Parliament, where opponents of Prime Minister Boris Johnson are trying to prevent a no-deal Brexit at the end of next month. Seibert said it would be up to Britain to request any delay, "and if it happened again, the EU would address it."

Johnson hasn't yet been to Brussels as prime minister but did visit Berlin and Paris last month.

Seibert said Merkel's comments about the possibility of a deal stand, "but it is also clear that this is about Britain putting concrete and realistic proposals on the table in Brussels."


1:10 p.m.

The European Union says it is still awaiting proposals from Britain to break the Brexit deadlock as technical talks aimed at ending the impasse get underway in Brussels.

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said "there is nothing new" in terms of new ideas from London.

Andreeva says "we are willing to work constructively with Prime Minister (Boris) Johnson and to look at any concrete proposals that he may have as long as they are compatible with the withdrawal agreement."

Britain's Brexit envoy David Frost is in Brussels for technical talks with EU counterparts to see whether progress can be made.

Britain wants to remove the so-called backstop arrangement aimed at keeping goods flowing smoothly between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K. after Brexit from the legally-binding divorce agreement. The EU insists it must remain.


10:30 a.m.

A Scottish court says British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's planned suspension of Parliament is lawful.

The closely watched decision was revealed Wednesday. It is the first of several challenges to Johnson's maneuver that gives lawmakers little time to prevent Britain from crashing out of the European Union without an agreement on Oct. 31.

Transparency campaigner Gina Miller, who won a ruling in the Supreme Court in 2017 that stopped the government from triggering the countdown to Brexit without a vote in Parliament, has another legal challenge in the works. 

A human rights campaigner has also sued in Northern Ireland, arguing that the historic Good Friday accord that brought peace is in jeopardy because of Johnson's actions.


9:25 a.m.

Britain's Parliament will attempt to defy Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit plans on Wednesday as lawmakers seek a way out of the impasse that has gripped the nation since the 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

The House of Commons is confronting Johnson over his insistence that the U.K. leave the EU on Oct. 31 even without a withdrawal agreement to cushion the economic blow. On Wednesday, it will consider a measure that will try to block a departure without a deal.

Johnson has said he will seek a general election if the lawmakers succeed, taking his message directly to the people in his bid to deliver Brexit, come what may.

But it is unclear whether he will have the votes for such a move. On Tuesday, Johnson lost his first vote in Parliament since becoming prime minister in July and has seen his tenuous grip on power weakened by defections from his party that cost him his working majority.


Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and British politics at:

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