REPORT: PM to Ask EU to Veto Brexit Delay, Reveal New Plans to Europeans

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 30: UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson arrives ahead of day two of the 2019 Conservative Party Conference at Manchester Central on September 30, 2019 in Manchester, England. Despite Parliament voting against a government motion to award a recess, the Conservative Party Conference still goes ahead. Parliament …
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly expecting to ask European Union leaders to veto an extension to Article 50 to exploit a loophole in anti-Brexit legislation aimed at stopping a clean-break exit.

Last month, Remainer parliamentarians passed a law — the Benn Act, referred to as the “Surrender Act” — forcing the prime minister to ask a third delay of Brexit by October 19th if a deal is not agreed in the House of Commons, stopping a Clean-Break Brexit on October 31st.

Pro-EU activists and politicians fear that the prime minister may exploit loopholes in the law to deliver Brexit, as he had promised, on Halloween even without a deal. While Number 10 by law is required to ask an extension, the EU is not obliged to give one, leading to reports that the prime minister is expected to ask the EU heads of government — who must vote unanimously to support another extension — to veto the delay.

Sources speaking to The Times have said that Mr Johnson is set to deliver plans to replace the Irish backstop — which could lock the UK in regulatory alignment with the EU post-transition period — with alternatives, the request to veto a further extension said to be included in the agreement.

Mr Johnson’s plan is if the EU agrees to these changes, to confront MPs with a choice of the revised deal and a Clean-Break Brexit; if successful, the prime minister will have nullified the Surrender Act.

The Telegraph reports that the final plans to get rid of the Irish backstop clause will be delivered to Brussels on Wednesday after his conference speech in Manchester.

Senior sources told the newspaper that the plans include using technology to create “customs clearance centres” five to 10 miles from the border between the UK’s Northern Ireland and the EU’s Republic of Ireland. This invisible ‘customs border’ will mean that pre-cleared goods will be tracked by GPS fitted to transport vehicles.

“I’m cautiously optimistic. We have made some pretty big moves, we are waiting to see whether our European friends will help us and whether we can find the right landing zone. But whatever happens, we’ll come out on Oct 31,” Mr Johnson had said during a visit to businesses in Manchester during conference season.

If Mr Johnson manages to get both the EU and the anti-Brexit parliamentarians to back a new exit treaty, Brexiteers in the Conservative Party have however warned of other perils existing in the EU-approved Withdrawal Agreement Bill besides the Irish backstop, including the £39 billion divorce bill, the near-two-year transition period where the country remains closely aligned to the EU, and the continuing supremacy of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) up to eight years after the end of the transition period.

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has also said that the WAB is not Brexit, saying recently: “…there are really only two Brexit choices: a clean break or a bad deal. Anything less than a Clean-Break Brexit would betray 17.4 million Leave voters.”

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