British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is bent on not complying with the decision of Parliament to seek Brexit delay.
According to Daily Mail, Johnson will tell EU leaders not to delay Brexit and will refuse to negotiate an extension – after MPs passed up the opportunity for a fourth time to vote for a deal.
The Commons voted 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment postponing a decision on the PM’s deal, and activating the Benn Act – a Remainer law that compels him to send a letter by 11pm tonight asking Brussels for a delay.
But Johnson was defiant in the Commons, sparking confusion over whether he will comply with the legislation or try to find a loophole to keep his ‘do or die’ promise to sever ties by October 31.
Responding to the result, he defiantly insisted he would not change his stance. ‘The best thing for the UK and for the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31,’ he said.
‘I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so.’
He added: ‘No delays, and I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31.’
The Conservative Party also tweeted: ‘Parliament has voted to delay Brexit again. The Prime Minister will not ask for a delay — he will tell EU leaders there should be no more delays and we should get Brexit done on October 31st with our new deal so the country can move on.’
The defiant Johnson was apparent in the three letters sent to the EU on Saturday night.
The first was the letter demanded by the Benn Act, which asks the EU to delay Brexit beyond the October 31 deadline – but not signed by Boris Johnson – using the exact wording specified in the legislation.
The second was a covering letter, written by Sir Tim Barrow, the UK’s Permanent Representative in Brussels, which made clear that the first letter was from Parliament, not the Government.
And the third was a letter from Mr Johnson, which was also sent to the leaders of the other 27 EU nations, in which he disavowed the first letter by making clear that he does not want any delay to Brexit.
In it, the PM said any further hold-up would be ‘deeply corrosive’, and would ‘damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners’.
He said UK would continue to ratify the deal and urged Brussels to do the same.
The historic batch of correspondence, which were sent by Sir Tim in both hard copy and electronically, represents the Prime Minister’s defiant riposte to the ‘rebel alliance’ who scuppered his attempt to finally secure Commons support for Brexit today.
Mr Johnson is also steeling himself for an instant legal challenge from pro-Remain groups to his three-letter ploy on the grounds that he did not sign the Benn missive.
However, No 10 lawyers have pointed out that the Benn Act only orders the PM to ‘send’ not ‘sign’ a letter.
‘Our lawyers have allowed a narrow interpretation of the terms. We are completely entitled to do that,’ a senior Government source said last night.
The fate of Mr Johnson’s deal now lies in the hands of Speaker John Bercow – who today hinted that he might not allow a meaningful vote on it – the rebel MPs and other EU leaders, especially French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
European Council president Donald Tusk has confirmed he has received the extension request from Boris Johnson. He said on Twitter: “The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react”.