British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is sticking to his Brexit plan and will not seek a delay to the nation’s departure from the European Union at a summit next month, Reuters reports, citing two ministers.
Johnson is determined to “keep to the plan” to leave the EU by Oct. 31 with or without a deal to ease the transition, despite suffering another resignation within his government, according to the report.
Work and pensions minister Amber Rudd quit late on Saturday over Johnson’s Brexit policy.
“I am saying that 80 to 90 percent of the work that I can see going on on the EU relationship is about preparation for no deal. It’s about disproportion,” Rudd told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday.
“The purpose of this resignation is to make the point that the Conservative Party at its best should be a moderate party that embraces people with different views of the EU.”
But foreign minister Dominic Raab rebutted her view, describing continuing “intense negotiations” in Brussels, and emphasized that Johnson’s government will not be deterred from what some describe as a hardline strategy on Brexit.
“I do also think that on some of these key issues, people need to understand, and the voters get it, that we’ve got to keep to the plan,” Raab told Sky News.
Both he and finance minister Sajid Javid also contradicted EU officials who have said Britain has yet to come up with new suggestions for changes to the Withdrawal Deal agreed by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May.
Johnson, Javid said, will go to an EU summit on Oct. 17 to try to secure a new deal.
May failed in three attempts to get her deal ratified by parliament, where many lawmakers balked at the so-called Northern Irish backstop. on the so-called Northern Irish backstop..
Johnson’s government has promised to get rid of the backstop, an insurance policy to prevent the return of a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland. The EU says the backstop must stand.
“First of all, the prime minister will go to the council meeting on the 17th and 18th (of October), he’ll be trying to strike a deal. He absolutely will not be asking for an extension in that meeting,” Javid told the BBC.
Johnson’s strategy to leave “do or die” by that deadline has been shaken by the events of recent days, which have deepened uncertainty over how Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU will play out.
The PM has lost his Conservative government’s majority in parliament, expelled 21 rebels from the party and failed to force through a new election. Then his own brother quit, saying he was torn between family loyalty and the national interest.
Saturday’s resignation of Rudd over what she called the government’s disproportionate focus on preparing for a no-deal Brexit has only heightened the sense of crisis, the report noted.
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