British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a law came into force demanding that he delay the country’s departure from the European Union until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal, Reuters reports.
“This government will press on with negotiating a deal, while preparing to leave without one,” Johnson told parliament after the result of the vote on an early election.
“I will go to that crucial summit on October the 17th and no matter how many devices this parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest … This government will not delay Brexit any further.”
For the second time in a week, lawmakers rejected Johnson’s request to try and break the deadlock through an early national election. Parliament is now due to be suspended until Oct. 14.
Johnson appeared to have lost control of Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union with the approval of the law, which obliges him to seek a delay unless he can strike a new deal at an EU summit next month.
EU leaders have repeatedly said they have not received specific proposals ahead of an EU summit on Oct. 17 and 18, at which Johnson hopes he can secure a deal.
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party was eager for an election, but would not support Johnson’s move to hold one until it was certain a delay to Brexit had been secured.
“As keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities,” Corbyn said.
Brexit, the United Kingdom’s most significant geopolitical move in decades, remains in question more than three years since the 2016 referendum, with possible outcomes ranging from an exit on Oct. 31 without a withdrawal agreement to smooth the transition, to abandoning the whole endeavor.
The bill seeking to block a no-deal exit, passed into law on Monday when it received assent from Queen Elizabeth, will force Johnson to seek a three-month extension to the Oct. 31 deadline unless parliament has either approved a deal or consented by Oct. 19 to leave without one.
Responding to concerns the government could ignore the legislation, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab earlier told parliament that the government would respect the rule of law but added, “Sometimes it can be more complex because there are conflicting laws or competing legal advice.”
Johnson took over as prime minister in July after his predecessor Theresa May failed to push the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament.
Parliament returned from its summer break last week, and Johnson has lost all six votes held in the House of Commons since.
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, champion of parliament in its move to rein in the prime minister over Brexit, took a veiled swipe at Johnson as he announced on Monday he would stand down from the role, issuing a warning to the government not to “degrade” parliament.
Ireland told Johnson on Monday that he must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border if there was to be any hope of averting a no-deal departure, saying Dublin could not rely on simple promises.
“In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us,” Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, standing beside Johnson, told reporters.
“We are open to alternatives, but they must be realistic ones, legally binding and workable, and we haven’t received such proposals to date.”
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