The U.K. pound surged in early London trading Wednesday after lawmakers wrested control of the parliamentary agenda in Britain's House of Commons last night, a move that both reduces the changes of a No Deal Brexit and inches the country closer to its third national election in four years.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who assumed control of the ruling Conservative Party on June 23, suffered a humiliating defeat in his first Parliamentary vote as 21 party colleagues voted against the government -- despite threats of expulsion -- and in favor of a bill that gives opposition lawmakers control of today's agenda.
That, in turn, sets up a vote aimed at eliminating the chances of Britain leaving the European Union on October 31 without a bespoke trade deal, one that opposition lawmakers are likely to win. Johnson, in reply, will table legislation for a fresh national election, arguing that only a public vote can break the current political deadlock that has prevented Britain from following through on the June 2016 referendum.
"I don't want an election, but if MPs vote tomorrow to stop negotiations and compel another pointless delay to Brexit, potentially for years, then that would be the only way to resolve this," Johnson told lawmakers lat night. "
"Parliament is on the brink of wrecking any deal we might be able to strike in Brussels," Johnson added. "Because tomorrow's bill would hand control of the negotiations to the EU."
The pound was marked some 2.13% higher from yesterday's trough, which saw the currency fall to the lowest level against the U.S. dollar in more than three years, and was last seen trading at 1.2214.
Wednesday's vote will effectively hand Brexit powers to lawmakers by forcing the government to get final approval for any deal -- or any no deal -- through a formal debate and an 'aye or nay' vote. The bill also demands that Johnson seek a third extension to Britain's Brexit deadline, something he has vowed not to do.
Instead, Johnson said, he'll call for an election on October 14 in order to settle the matter with a public vote. However, he needs a two-thirds majority in Parliament to do so, and opposition lawmakers won't back his calls until the prospect of a "No Deal" Brexit is removed by the bill set for debate later today.
"We're not going to dance to his tune," said Keir Starmer of the opposition Labour Party. "We're not going to vote with Boris Johnson today to deprive ourselves of the opportunity to complete the business that we've just seized control of the house to do."