London (AFP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reluctantly wrote to Brussels asking for a Brexit extension after MPs voted Saturday to drive him into searching for a delay past October 31.
However Johnson, who has pinned his premiership on getting Britain out of the European Union on time, refused to signal the letter he despatched to European Council President Donald Tusk.
The Conservative chief, who needed to ship the letter to abide by the regulation, additionally despatched a second signed letter insisting he was not searching for an extension to the Brexit deadline, which has already been postponed twice.
In a day of excessive drama within the Home of Commons, MPs declined to provide their backing to the revised withdrawal settlement Johnson struck with the EU this week till the laws wanted to ratify it has handed.
Having didn’t again a divorce deal, they triggered a regulation requiring Johnson to write down to EU leaders by the tip of the day asking to delay Brexit, to keep away from the danger that Britain crashes out in lower than a fortnight.
A supply in Johnson’s Downing Avenue workplace mentioned Johnson had despatched a photocopy of the letter contained within the regulation that requires him to ask for the delay if there is no such thing as a Brexit deal, however didn’t signal it.
He signed one other letter which makes clear he doesn’t need to delay Brexit past the tip of this month.
A 3rd letter written by Britain’s EU ambassador Tim Barrow defined that the Brexit delay letter was solely being despatched to adjust to the regulation.
Johnson’s signed letter was circulating on a number of British media retailers.
“Regrettably, parliament missed the chance to inject momentum into the ratification course of,” he wrote, regretting that EU leaders would now must spend but extra time on Brexit.
“An additional extension would injury the pursuits of the UK and our EU companions, and the connection between us. We should carry this course of to a conclusion.”
Johnson nonetheless mentioned he remained “assured” of finishing the ratification course of by October 31.
– Tusk consults EU 27 –
“I’ll now begin consulting EU leaders on learn how to react,” Tusk mentioned on Twitter.
An EU supply instructed AFP that the method “could take a couple of days” and declined to touch upon the non-signature.
A Downing Avenue spokeswoman mentioned the prime minister had spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Tusk.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned he had mentioned the scenario with Johnson and “wished him success within the subsequent levels” within the Commons.
Being pressured to ship the letter after Saturday’s defeat was a blow to Johnson, who has beforehand mentioned he would fairly be “useless in a ditch” than extend the tortuous means of ending Britain’s 46-year-old membership of the EU.
In a letter to Conservative MPs afterwards, he warned that the opposite 27 EU states would possibly reject parliament’s request for a delay.
Brussels urged Britain to elucidate its plan as quickly as attainable, whereas Macron’s workplace mentioned a brand new delay to Brexit was “in no person’s curiosity”.
– Johnson overwhelmed 322-306 –
Securing the brand new divorce treaty at Thursday’s EU summit had been a private victory for the prime minister, a figurehead within the Go away marketing campaign in Britain’s 2016 EU membership referendum.
He had spent 48 hours frantically making an attempt to influence MPs to again it, and received assist from lots of the eurosceptic Conservatives who had thrice rejected a earlier divorce settlement secured by his predecessor Theresa Might.
However parliament — just like the pissed off public — continues to be bitterly divided over how and even whether or not Britain ought to finish a long time of integration with its closest buying and selling associate.
MPs voted by 322 to 306 to again a movement by former Conservative minister Oliver Letwin that “withholds approval (of the deal) until and till implementing laws is handed”.
They have been assembly on a Saturday for the primary time for the reason that 1982 Falklands Warfare.
Whereas MPs voted inside parliament, exterior, greater than 100,000 folks marched to demand a brand new referendum that might reverse Brexit.
Demonstrators erupted into cheers on the information from contained in the Commons.
“That is actually good, that is one step away from Brexit,” demonstrator Philip Dobson instructed AFP.
“Reject Brexit”, “Put It To The Individuals” and “Cease This Insanity” learn a number of the placards on the mass march, the place many protesters additionally waved EU flags.
– Laws subsequent week –
The British authorities will introduce laws subsequent week to implement the divorce deal, with a primary vote as quickly as Tuesday.
The federal government additionally needs one other vote on the deal on Monday, which is probably not attainable.
There’s a likelihood the deal may go, and Britain may nonetheless go away the EU on October 31, however there stays sturdy opposition to the settlement amongst MPs.
MPs may attempt to hijack the laws on the Brexit deal subsequent week with a movement to name a brand new referendum, though earlier makes an attempt have failed.