British PM vows to stick to October 31 Brexit deadline

RSTV Bureau
London:  Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves10 Downing Street in London, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. An unrepentant Prime Minister Boris Johnson brushed off cries of "Resign!" and dared his foes to try to topple him Wednesday at a raucous session of Parliament, a day after Britain's highest court ruled he acted illegally in suspending the body ahead of the Brexit deadline. (AP/PTI Photo)

File Photo: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.  (AP/PTI Photo)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday vowed to stick to an October 31 Brexit deadline, despite MPs winning more time to study a divorce deal he struck with Brussels.

He told parliament the “meaningful vote” on his divorce agreement with the European Union “has been voided of meaning” but added: “I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so.”

Johnson is currently required to ask for an extension as parliament votes down the revised withdrawal agreement he struck with EU leaders in Brussels this week.

But Letwin’s amendment, which was selected by House of Commons Speaker John Bercow for a vote, would decline to approve Johnson’s deal in full “unless and until” every other part of the formal Withdrawal Agreement Bill is passed.

Johnson hopes to introduce the formal bill next week once MPs have voted on Saturday’s political agreement.

Letwin backs Johnson’s agreement but is concerned that lawmakers might fail to push through the required Brexit implementation mechanism by the October 31 deadline.

This would, theoretically, result in a “no-deal” departure from the EU at the end of the month — a scenario his amendment is designed to avoid.

The amendment “is to keep in place the insurance policy… which prevents us from crashing out automatically if there is no deal in place by October 31″, Letwin said, introducing the measure in the Commons.

He said that any votes on the withdrawal act legislation would be tight.

Johnson wants to say to waverers “it’s my deal or no deal. Vote for the implementing legislation or we crash out”, said Letwin.

“We can’t be sure that such a threat from the prime minister would work.

“So I’m moving this amendment to ensure that whichever way any future votes may go… we can be secure in the knowledge that the UK will have requested an extension tonight, which, if granted, can be used if, and to the extent necessary — and only the extent necessary — to prevent a no-deal exit.”

(With inputs from News Agency)