UPDATE 2-UK PM sends unsigned letter to EU asking for Brexit delay

* PM Johnson sends EU unsigned letter looking for Brexit delay

* Johnson additionally tells EU he doesn’t need a delay

* Lawmakers had sought to pressure Brexit extension request

* Johnson: assured Brexit legal guidelines will cross by Oct. 31 (Provides paragraph on probably EU response)

By Elizabeth Piper and Kylie MacLellan

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson despatched an unsigned letter to the European Union requesting a delay to Britain’s exit from the bloc and likewise mentioned he didn’t need the extension after his newest Brexit setback in parliament on Saturday.

Johnson had beforehand mentioned he would reasonably be “useless in a ditch” than ask for any extension to the Oct. 31 deadline.

However he was compelled, by a regulation handed final month by opponents, to ship a letter to the bloc asking to push again the deadline to Jan. 31 after lawmakers thwarted his try to cross his EU divorce deal on Saturday.

A authorities supply mentioned Johnson despatched a complete of three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council: a photocopy of the textual content that the regulation, generally known as the Benn Act, compelled him to put in writing; a canopy be aware from Britain’s EU envoy saying the federal government was merely complying with that regulation; and a 3rd letter during which Johnson mentioned he didn’t need an extension.

“I’ve made clear since changing into Prime Minister and made clear to parliament once more at the moment, my view, and the Authorities’s place, {that a} additional extension would harm the pursuits of the UK and our EU companions, and the connection between us,” Johnson mentioned within the third letter, printed on Twitter by the Monetary Occasions’ Brussels correspondent.

Johnson, for whom delivering Brexit is vital to his plan to carry an early election, mentioned he was assured that the method of getting the Brexit laws by Britain’s parliament could be accomplished earlier than Oct. 31, in response to the letter.

Tusk mentioned he had obtained the request from Johnson.

“I’ll now begin consulting EU leaders on how one can react,” he mentioned on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron advised Johnson that Paris wanted swift clarification on the scenario after Saturday’s vote, an official on the French presidency advised Reuters.

“He signalled a delay could be in nobody’s curiosity,” the official mentioned.

Nevertheless, it was unlikely that the EU’s 27 members states would refuse Britain’s delay request.


Johnson had hoped that Saturday would see recalcitrant lawmakers lastly again the divorce deal he agreed with EU leaders this week and finish three years of political impasse for the reason that 2016 referendum vote to go away the bloc.

As an alternative, lawmakers voted 322 to 306 in favour of an modification that turned Johnson’s deliberate finale on its head by obliging him to ask the EU for a delay, and rising the chance for opponents to frustrate Brexit.

Johnson has beforehand promised that he would take the nation out of the bloc on Oct. 31, with out explaining how he would do that whereas additionally complying with the Benn Act.

“I cannot negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the regulation compel me to take action,” he advised parliament after lawmakers backed the modification on Saturday.

Opposition politicians accused him of believing he was above the regulation.

“Johnson is a Prime Minister who’s now treating Parliament and the Courts with contempt,” John McDonnell, the opposition Labour Occasion’s finance spokesman mentioned.

“His juvenile refusal to even signal the letter confirms what we at all times suspected that Johnson along with his smug sense of entitlement considers he’s above the regulation and above accountability.”

Scotland’s highest courtroom is because of think about on Monday a authorized problem that had sought to pressure Johnson to adjust to the Benn Act. The courtroom mentioned earlier this month that authorities attorneys had given formal authorized statements that he would abide by the Benn Act and it might be a critical matter if he didn’t.

“Boris Johnson promised #Scottish courtroom he would adjust to #BennAct & not search to frustrate it. Appears to be like like he is breaking each guarantees,” Joanna Cherry, a Scottish Nationwide Occasion lawmaker concerned within the case mentioned on Twitter. (Further reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; Writing by William Schomberg and Michael Holden; Modifying by Daniel Wallis)

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