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Boris Johnson to work for Brexit deal after losing six key votes

After Parliament blocked his Brexit strategy and then refused to give him the election he wanted, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising to work for a deal with the European Union. On Monday the British premier suffers his sixth consecutive defeat in a vote in the House of Commons, after his attempt to get approval for a snap poll was rejected for a second time.

Johnson’s return after a long summer recess was a disaster. He pushed hard last week to get members of his own Conservative Party to endorse his strategy of guaranteeing to leave the EU on Oct. 31 - even if it meant doing so without a deal - but they refused, and he lost a key vote. The result of the past week of Parliamentary defeats is that Johnson is required by law either to get a Brexit deal or to seek to delay Britain’s departure from the EU past the current target date of Oct. 31.

“This government will press on with negotiating a deal while preparing to leave without one,” a frustrated Johnson said after the vote. “I will go to that crucial summit in Brussels on Oct. 17, and no matter how many devices this Parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest.” So the premier must find a way around the law, or work to get a Brexit deal through Parliament.

On Monday Johnson said the priority was to ensure the U.K. could not be “kept locked in” the provision. That doesn’t necessarily mean the backstop needs to be abolished.