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This Latest Brexit Twist Blows Things Wide Open

This Latest Brexit Twist Blows Things Wide Open

It's been at least 125 years since a British prime minister lost his first vote in parliament, but that's exactly what happened last night in the UK's House of Commons. Just days after he stunned and infuriated lawmakers by suspending parliament for five precious weeks in the lead-up to the October 31 Brexit deadline, MPs paid him back in full by voting to take the Brexit agenda out of his hands. Nearly two dozen members of Johnson's Conservative party voted against him.

What's next? There may be a vote later today on a bill that would force Johnson to delay Brexit unless MPs back a new deal or vote for a no-deal exit.

Pro-government members of the House of Lords will now try every procedural maneuver at their disposal to prevent last night's bill from passing the upper house. If the bill passes anyway, Johnson has said he'll call snap elections in mid October.

But he would still need two thirds of MPs to ratify that decision too. That means the Labour Party will have to support the decision, and many of its members suspect that once the election is called and parliament is dissolved, Johnson will then move the election to November to push through Brexit before the vote can be held. After last week's move to suspend parliament, few outside his party see much reason to trust him.

Johnson has also moved to kick out nearly two dozen members of his party who voted against him yesterday. Others have resigned the party or have threatened to.

The bottom line: If the UK does go to elections soon, an outcome that appears increasingly likely, this will be the most wide-open election in recent memory. And at this point it's impossible to say what that means for Brexit.

CORRECTION: We originally thought William Pitt the Younger was the last PM to lose his first vote in parliament, back in 1793. But it appears that Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery had that distinction in 1894. We regret the error but love the history.

Carbon has a bad rep, but did you know it's a building block of life? As atoms evolved, carbon trapped in CO2 was freed, giving way to the creation of complex molecules that use photosynthesis to convert carbon to food. Soon after, plants, herbivores, and carnivores began populating the earth and the cycle of life began.

Learn more about how carbon created life on Earth in the second episode of Eni's Story of CO2 series.

As we enter the homestretch of the US presidential election — which is set to be the most contentious, and possibly contested, in generations — Americans are also voting on 35 seats up for grabs in a battle for the control of the Senate. The 100-member body is currently held 53-47 by the Republican Party, but many individual races are wide open, and the Democrats are confident they can flip the upper chamber of Congress.

Either way, the result will have a profound impact not only on domestic policy, but also on US foreign relations and other issues with global reach. Here are a few areas where what US senators decide reverberates well beyond American shores.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on the Supreme Court vacancy:

Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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In a special GZERO Media livestream on global response and recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media president Ian Bremmer discussed the difference between Europe's unified approach to economic stimulus and the deeply divided and political nature of the current conversation in the US. While initial stimulus support was bipartisan, there is little chance of Democrats and Republicans coming together again ahead of the November 3 presidential election. "It's red state versus blue state. President Trump's saying that coronavirus isn't so bad if you take the blue states out. He's president of the blue states, you can't take the blue states out," Bremmer told moderator Susan Glasser of The New Yorker.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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