Brexit: How the world's media covered Johnson's defeat in parliament

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) in the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (C) in the House of Commons in London, Britain September 3, 2019 Copyright UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS
By Alice Tidey
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered his first parliamentary defeat on Tuesday which could derail his plans for the country to leave the EU by October 31.


Even as he was campaigning to succeed Theresa May as Britain's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was adamant to his lawmakers, electorate and fellow European Union leaders: the UK would leave the bloc by October 31 "no ifs, no buts."

But he, who criticised May's Brexit stance at every turn and even quit her Cabinet in opposition of the Withdrawal Agreement which was then rejected three times by lawmakers, was also handed his own significant parliamentary defeat on Tuesday.

Twenty-one of his own MPs rebelled against him and joined the opposition to demand a vote on a proposed legislation that would force him to demand an extension to Brexit to avoid the country crashing out without a deal on Halloween.

READ MORE: UK Prime Minister tables motion for early general election after losing vote in parliament

Here's how the world's papers covered the turn of events:


Unsurprisingly, the parliamentary defeat made the front page but the famously partisan press went with quite different headlines.

Left-leaning newspapers such as The Guardian and the Independent led with "Humiliation for Johnson as Tory rebels turn against him" and "Johnson loses control" respectively.

The Times, centre-right, headlined with "PM loses historic vote" while the right-wing Daily Telegraph, for which Johnson wrote a weekly column until his appointment as prime minister, made no mention of his defeat in its headline, going with: "Johnson demands election."


The latest twist in the Brexit saga also made it on the front pages across the EU27, although slightly less prominently.

In Spain, embroiled in its own political crisis, El Pais led with: "Johnson suffers a crucial defeat in his Brexit plan."

Italy, whose own political crisis was resolved on Tuesday when the populist 5-Star Movement and the centre-right Democratic Party agreed to a coalition deal, woke up to "Johnson loses Brexit challenge" splashed across La Repubblica.

In France, where President Emmanuel Macron has often taken a tough stance against the UK regarding its exit from the bloc, Le Monde declared "Brexit: Johnson goes to war against his parliament," while Le Figaro went with: "Brexit: Opposition inflicts setback on Johnson."

Front page of Le Figaro on September 4, 2019.Kiosko

"Defeat for Boris Johnson," featured prominently on Germany's Suddeutsche Zeitung on Wednesday morning. Der Tagesspiegel chose to focus on the defection of MP Philip Lee to the Liberal Democrats, emphasizing: "Boris Johnson loses majority in parliament."

Front page of Der Tagesspiegel on September 4, 2019.Kiosko

READ MORE: What are the odds? Bookmakers back Johnson in potential snap election


The devastation unleashed by Dorian across the Bahamas grabbed the headlines in the US but Lee's defection from the ruling Conservative party also made it high up on the Washington Post's front page with "Defections bring loss for Johnson."

Washington Post front page on September 4, 2019.Kiosko

The New York Times has two stories dedicated to Brexit on its front page. The first one is entitled "Lawmakers foil Britain's leader with Brexit vote" while the other focuses on the rebellion within the Conservative ranks, led by former Cabinet ministers including Philip Hammond. It is headlined: "In EU divorce, Conservative Party stalwarts take a rebel turn."

New York Times cover on September 4, 2019.Kiosko
New York Times cover on September 4, 2019Kiosko
Share this articleComments

You might also like

Boris Johnson's Brexit plans in tatters after losing key vote

What are the odds? Bookmakers still backing Tories in potential snap election but odds fall

Raw Politics in full: Boris Johnson's Brexit ultimatum