Boris Johnson asks for Brexit extension after Parliament forces his hand

Cornelia Mascio
Ottobre 21, 2019

The amendment - put forward by Oliver Letwin, an independent MP - also forced Britain to ask the European Union to delay Brexit from 31 October to 31 January if the new deal had not yet been approved by the end of this month.

He said it was unsafe to assume that the 27 other European Union leaders would grant an extension.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier noted on Deutschlandfunk radio Monday that Johnson's government will attempt to get a vote on the deal this week.

Johnson very much wants Britain to leave the bloc on October 31 but British lawmakers have not yet voted on his new Brexit plan. "We can say it is holding firm, which shows hopes (for avoiding no-deal Brexit) have not been dashed".

Johnson was ambushed by opponents in parliament last Saturday who demanded a change to the sequencing of the ratification of the deal, exposing the prime minister to a law which demanded he request a delay until January 31.

Over the weekend, UK Prime Minister Johnson's attempt to get parliamentary approval for his Brexit deal fell flat - not because of inadequate support for his bill, but because of an earlier amendment put forward by Sir Letwin, created to avoid any meaningful vote on the bill until details of implementation had been finalized.

The Labour Party wants any deal to be contingent on a referendum and the United Kingdom to join the EU customs union.

In principle, therefore, this has made a no deal Brexit less likely by forcing Johnson to request an European Union extension.

"It now looks unlikely that we will" leave by Halloween, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage told "FOX & Friends" Sunday.

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain's impending October 31 departure from the bloc, as required by British law.

"People weren't just misled, they were lied to", he said.

"I will tell our friends and colleagues in the European Union exactly what I have told everyone in the last 88 days I have served as Prime Minister; that further delay will be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy".

Separately, it is seeking a new yes-or-no vote on approving the deal on Monday, although this may fall foul of parliamentary procedure. With this in mind, the Cabinet brought up Operation Yellowhammer - a contingency plan to opt for a no-deal Brexit in the event there could be no further prolongation.

The European Union has not yet responded to Johnson's grudging request late Saturday to extend the looming October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.

Opponents feel that sending the second letter was done specifically to frustrate the will of Parliament, which has not approved Johnson's Brexit plan but does want a Brexit deal.

Tusk will spend a "few days" canvassing member state leaders, and diplomats said this would mean the British parliament will have to vote on Brexit again before hearing their decision on the October 31 departure.

The Court of Session in Scotland is already considering the matter, and it may end up being decided in the British Supreme Court, which in September ruled that Johnson had acted unlawfully when he suspended Parliament for five weeks as the Brexit deadline crept closer.

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