Future of October 31st Brexit In Doubt As Parliament Attempts to Force Three Month Delay

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to the media ahead of his meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Government Buildings on September 9, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach focused on Brexit negotiations, with Varadkar warning Johnson …
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Boris Johnson’s government will use all legal means available to deliver Brexit on time, according to reports, as the tug of war over Brexit between Britain’s anti-referendum result Parliament and the minority, pro-result government rages on.

After a series of defeats in the Commons last week, Britain’s predominantly pro-remain Parliament is working to force yet another Brexit delay, the fourth in a year, of up to three months.

Yet a series of matters complicate the issue. While Britain’s The Times newspaper reports the Prime Minister has said he would not break the law to deliver Brexit as promised both by his government and by the terms of the 2016 referendum, the government is also reportedly working to sabotage the extension by all legal means possible.

The Prime Minister is reported to be making clear to Parliament that accepting a general election in a vote Monday will be their last chance to delay Brexit, on the assumption that when actually consulting the British public, pro-Remain parties could form a working majority in the Commons. The Daily Telegraph quotes a Downing Street source as saying:

“We intend to sabotage any extension. The Surrender Bill only kicks in if an extension is offered. Once people realise our plans, there is a good chance we won’t be offered a delay. Even if we are, we intend to sabotage that too.”

“[Monday] is the last chance for Corbyn to be prime minister and negotiate his delay at Brussels on Oct 17-18. If he opposes the people having their say in an election on Oct 15, then MPs should realise they may not be able to stop no deal. The MPs will be sent home this week and have no further chance to shape negotiations on Oct 17.”

Parliament is attempting to force the government to ask the European Union to grant another Brexit extension. But that request does not preclude a European member state rejecting the request, and even the government lobbying European governments behind closed doors to turn it down.

France is broadly thought to be the most likely country to reject the possibility of an extension. President Emmanuel Macron is reported to have run out of patience with the Brexit process, as the massive focus on the British withdrawal is preventing him from reforming the European Union, one of his great leadership ambitions. When the last Brexit extension was granted earlier this year, it was France that forced it to be cut done from 12 months to six.

A French minister speaking Sunday said they would not support an extension at all as things stand, remarking “we can’t keep going through this every three months”.

Speaking last week, the Prime Minister said he would rather “die in a ditch” than delay Brexit again. Parliament will vote for a second time Monday on whether to hold a snap general election before the official end-of-October Brexit date.

While a new vote could solve the problem of a government unable to govern and a Parliament opposed to the British people, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has U-turned from his previous position of the country needing a general election as soon as possible. He now insists a vote could only be possible if full Brexit was ruled out before the nation went to the polls, in effect limiting the number of options the British people would be permitted to vote on.

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