Yesterday, a motion to take control of parliamentary business from the ruling Conservatives (the first step in delaying Brexit yet again) was passed 328 to 301.
Among the majority were 21 Tory MPs voting against Prime Minister Johnson’s strict instructions.
He responded by effectively sacking them all.
The stunning defeat could see Britain head to the polls in just weeks.
However Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn has said his party will try to block plans for a general election on October 15, instead pushing for a law ruling out a so-called “no deal” departure from the European Union.
Unfortunately for the besieged PM, calling an early election is no longer as simple as bending the knee and asking the Queen for one.
A recent law change, called the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, means that two thirds of MPs must now vote in favour of holding a poll before a term of parliament has expired.
Normally the opposition welcomes an election in the hope of gaining seat, but in this instance the main aim of Labour’s game is to take control of the Brexit debate and stop a no-deal before an election.
In the event Labour refuses to vote for an election, Mr Johnson will have two options remaining.
A new law that bypasses the Fixed Term Parliaments Act for this one election would need just a simple majority to pass.
Alternatively, the PM could take the route of calling a vote of confidence in himself, risking Labour cobbling together the numbers to form government themselves.
Mr Johnson insisted in his address to the nation that he was not seeking to disband parliament: “I don’t want an election. You don’t want an election,” he said.
But opinion polls suggest his decisive approach to Brexit is popular with voters and would serve the Tories well at the ballot box.