Defiant Johnson ‘Will Not’ Ask EU for Brexit Delay, Remainers Ready to Take PM to Court

BIARRITZ, FRANCE - AUGUST 24: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a press conference in the Bellevue hotel conference room at the conclusion of the G7 summit on August 24, 2019 in Biarritz, France. The French southwestern seaside resort of Biarritz is hosting the 45th G7 summit from August 24 …
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Boris Johnson has said that he “will not” ask the EU for a further Brexit delay even if anti-Brexit legislation is passed, with Remainers planning to take the prime minister to court if he refuses.

On Friday, the House of Lords approved the bill aimed to make leaving the EU without a deal illegal and force the Conservative government to ask the European Union for another extension to Article 50 (the legal mechanism for leaving the EU) if Parliament does not agree a deal with Brussels by October 19th. The bill, which was passed in the Remainer-dominated House of Commons last week, is expected to gain Royal Assent on Monday and become law within days.

During a visit to Scotland on Friday, Mr Johnson said: “The Bill that is still before Parliament would in theory mean that the government of the UK was obliged to write a letter to Brussels asking for a pointless delay to leaving the EU and I don’t think that’s what people want.”

When asked to clarify whether he would request a further Brexit delay, Prime Minister Johnson replied: “I will not. I don’t want a delay,” signalling he would be prepared to defy the law.

The Telegraph reports that Mr Johnson later wrote to Conservative Party members that Labour had “left us no choice” but to call for a snap election, adding: “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.”

Mr Johnson has called for a snap election before Brexit Day to allow the people to clear Parliament of Remainers, but under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, he needs a two-thirds majority in the House of Commons to do so, the next election scheduled for 2022. Despite calling for a General Election for the past two years, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn whipped his MPs to abstain in the vote, in the knowledge that the leftist party would suffer in the national polls, defeating the government on Wednesday. The prime minister is set to call for an election again on Monday.

Former leader of the Conservative Party and Brexiteer MP Iain Duncan Smith said of the bill and Labour’s refusal to back a snap election: “This is about Parliament versus the people. Boris Johnson is on the side of the people, who voted to leave the EU. The people are sovereign because they elect Parliament. But Parliament wants to stop the will of the people, and that is the side that Labour is on.

“Boris Johnson is fully within his rights to demand that this issue is decided by the people, and Labour will have to answer the question of why they don’t want to allow that.”

Meanwhile, The Times reports sources as saying that the Opposition and rebel Remainer Tories have received private assurances that the European Council — made up of the leaders of the EU-27 — will support a three-month delay to Brexit.

This Remain alliance is also preparing to take Boris Johnson to court if he refuses to seek a further Brexit delay and triggers a no-deal exit, according to the BBC. The cross-party MPs are said to have assembled a legal team that would take Mr Johnson to court if he defies the law.

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.