Johnson ‘Sticking to His Guns’ on Brexit Plans, Says Foreign Secretary

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab speaks to the media during a press conference to offer an alternative Brexit plan on January 15, 2019 in London, England. Dominic Raab and David Davis, two former cabinet secretaries who resigned in protest …
Leon Neal/Getty

Dominic Raab has said that Boris Johnson is “sticking to his guns” on his Brexit plans, saying that despite the efforts of Jeremy Corbyn’s “surrender bill” to stop no deal Brexit, the UK will leave the EU on October 31st “come what may”.

The Remainer-dominated House of Commons voted to back a bill that would stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal and force the government to seek another extension of Article 50, delaying Brexit Day for another three months to January 31st, 2020.

The bill then passed through the House of Lords on Friday and is set to receive Royal Assent on Monday, becoming law. Mr Johnson said in response that he “will not” ask the EU for another delay, leading to claims by legal experts that if the prime minister ‘breaks the law’, he could be jailed.

Two days after the prime minister made the remarks, Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab told Sophy Ridge on Sky News on Sunday that “the prime minister is sticking to his guns” and that even though “we’re going to keep going on with the negotiations” with the EU to remove the controversial Irish backstop from the withdrawal treaty, “we must leave come what may” on Halloween.

When pressed by Ridge whether Mr Johnson would ‘break the law’ and continue to pursue a no deal Brexit, Mr Raab said his government “will adhere to the law” but suggested that the government could work around Corbyn’s “surrender bill”, saying they will “test to the limit what it does, actually, lawfully, require”.

He added: “That legislation is lousy. It envisaged multiple delays and effectively forces us to accept conditions from the EU however vindictive, punitive, or harsh they may be.”

When pressed on whether Mr Johnson will ignore the bill, the foreign secretary said: “He’s been very clear about it this week [that he will not extend Article 50].”

A source speaking to the Sunday Times said that the prime minister is preparing for a show-down in the Supreme Court, saying “If there isn’t a deal by the 18th we will sabotage the extension,” while another source said the prime minister’s inner team is preparing to “take a chainsaw to anything” that threatens fulfilling the will of the people.

The prime minister holding firm appears to be winning favour with the public, with a YouGov poll for the Sunday Times finding the Conservatives on 35 per cent approval, 14 points ahead of Labour (on 21 per cent), with the Liberal Democrats in third on 19 per cent, and the Brexit Party on 12 per cent.

Mr Raab also backed Boris Johnson for ejecting from the Conservative Party those 21 MPs who voted against the government to back the anti-Brexit bill, saying that “voting for motions and legislations that gave Jeremy Corbyn control of the business of the House of Commons and control of the negotiations” which could result in overturning the referendum result was “the real vandalism to democracy”.


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