British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street in London on Monday. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Johnson tells parliament: You can tie my hands, but I will not delay Brexit

54 Comments
By William James and Kylie MacLellan

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he would not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a law came into force demanding that he delay Britain's departure from the European Union until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal.

For the second time in a week, lawmakers then rejected Johnson's request to try to break the deadlock through an early national election.

With the future of Brexit mired in uncertainty, parliament was suspended until Oct 14, sparking tense scenes in the House of Commons where opposition lawmakers held signs reading"silenced" and yelled "shame on you" at Johnson's ruling Conservatives.

Johnson appeared to have lost control of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union with the approval of the law, which obliges him to seek a delay unless he can strike a new deal at an EU summit next month.

EU leaders have repeatedly said they have not received specific proposals ahead of an EU summit on Oct 17 and 18, at which Johnson says he hopes he can secure a deal.

"This government will press on with negotiating a deal, while preparing to leave without one," Johnson told parliament after the result of the vote on an early election.

"I will go to that crucial summit on October the 17th and no matter how many devices this parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest ... This government will not delay Brexit any further."

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party was eager for an election, but would not support Johnson's move to hold one until it was certain a delay to Brexit had been secured.

"As keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities," Corbyn said.

Brexit, the United Kingdom's most significant geopolitical move in decades, remains in question more than three years since the 2016 referendum, with possible outcomes ranging from an exit on Oct 31 without a withdrawal agreement to smooth the transition, to abandoning the whole endeavor.

The bill seeking to block a no-deal exit, passed into law on Monday when it received assent from Queen Elizabeth, will force Johnson to seek a three-month extension to the Oct 31 deadline unless parliament has either approved a deal or consented by Oct 19 to leave without one.

Responding to concerns the government could ignore the legislation, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab earlier told parliament that the government would respect the rule of law but added, "Sometimes it can be more complex because there are conflicting laws or competing legal advice."

Johnson took over as prime minister in July after his predecessor, Theresa May, failed to push the Withdrawal Agreement through parliament.

Parliament returned from its summer break last week, and Johnson has lost all six votes held in the House of Commons since. The suspension of parliament, or prorogation, will last for five weeks.

Under Johnson's premiership, Britain's three-year Brexit crisis has stepped up a gear, leaving financial markets and businesses bewildered by an array of political decisions that diplomats compare to the style of U.S. President Donald Trump.

BlackRock, a U.S. investment firm that manages $6.8 trillion of assets, said a no-deal Brexit or a referendum had become more plausible.

The pound trimmed gains against the dollar, to stand slightly higher on Monday at $1.234. It jumped to a six-week high of $1.2385 in London trading after economic data beat forecasts.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, champion of parliament in its move to rein in the prime minister over Brexit, took a veiled swipe at Johnson as he announced on Monday he would stand down from the role, issuing a warning to the government not to"degrade" parliament.

As Bercow tried to suspend parliament on Monday night, well after midnight, a brief scuffle broke out near his chair as opposition lawmakers held up signs and booed.

"This is not a normal prorogation," Bercow said. "It is not typical, it is not standard. It is one of the longest for decades and it represents not just in the minds of some colleagues but huge numbers of people outside, an act of executive fiat," he told a raucous chamber.

Johnson, a former journalist who derided the EU and later became the face of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, has repeatedly promised to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31.

Ireland told Johnson on Monday that he must make specific proposals on the future of the Irish border if there was to be any hope of averting a no-deal departure, saying Dublin could not rely on simple promises.

"In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us," Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, standing beside Johnson, told reporters.

"We are open to alternatives, but they must be realistic ones, legally binding and workable, and we haven't received such proposals to date."

Varadkar's blunt remarks indicate the difficulty of Johnson's gamble of using the threat of a no-deal exit to convince Germany and France that they must rewrite an exit pact struck last November.

"I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal," Johnson said in Dublin, adding that there was plenty of time to find one before the October EU summit.

The law that took effect on Monday does allow for one scenario in which a no-deal Brexit could take place on Oct 31 - if parliament approved a no-deal exit by Oct 19.

However the current parliament would be unlikely to switch stance and approve a no-deal exit by then.

Lawmakers voted 311 to 302 on Monday to demand the government publish documents over its planning for a no-deal Brexit and private communications from government officials involved in a decision to suspend parliament.

Those calling for the documents to be published say they will show the decision to suspend parliament was politically motivated, as a way to limit discussion on Brexit. The government said the suspension was to give Johnson the chance to set out a new legislative agenda.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

54 Comments
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The elites are trying to thwart the people’s intentions when they voted to leave the EU. Corporations own the UK Left and a good chunk of the right as well. Democracy dies in the darkness of the ruling class.

-18 ( +7 / -25 )

The debate isn't about leaving or not, it's about leaving with a deal or without a deal.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

The debate isn't about leaving or not, it's about leaving with a deal or without a deal

Then that should have been part of the referendum. It wasn't, where was Corbyn then? Oh year, he was busy being anti EU, labelling it a capitalist club, he was busy calling Hamas and Hezbollah friends, and dissing his own leaders for being on the right side of politics etc.

You can't trust a jelly fish like Corbyn, no backbone and stings on contact.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

Corporations own the UK Left

An interesting comment. Perhaps you could explain which corporations own "the UK Left," as you call it.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Then that should have been part of the referendum. It wasn't, where was Corbyn then? Oh year, he was busy being anti EU, labelling it a capitalist club, he was busy calling Hamas and Hezbollah friends, and dissing his own leaders for being on the right side of politics etc.

Yawn.

More Corbyn smearing from the sock puppet troll army.

"Israel secretly operates a troll army of thousands, partly funded by a government department. The Ministry of Strategic Affairs is dedicated to a global “war” against BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement for Palestinian rights."

"In August last year, Act.IL ran a campaign directing its troll army to make and promote comments online against the British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accusing him of anti-Semitism. This meddling in British democracy came during the height of summer 2018’s media hysteria about a supposed “crisis” of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party."

https://electronicintifada.net/content/how-israeli-spies-are-flooding-facebook-and-twitter/27596

10 ( +13 / -3 )

All hell, just leave w/o a deal and see what happens. I'm sick and tired of hearing about this.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

The elites are trying to thwart the people’s intentions when they voted to leave the EU.

51.9% in favor of leaving/48.1% against leaving, so in effect you are trying to say that nearly HALF the people who voted to stay within the EU are elites?

Up until now, in my entire life, I have yet to meet a single "elitist" person from GB. I never knew GB was so stuck up? (Percentage wise that is!)

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Best PM in a long time, delivering on what a majority of the UK electorate voted for. Just get a couple of sympathetic EU countries to veto any extension, Boris! That way, we're out on October 31st NO DEAL!

-17 ( +5 / -22 )

Those calling for the documents to be published say they will show that the decision to suspend parliament was politically motivated, as a way to limit parliamentary discussion on Brexit. The government said the suspension was to give Johnson the chance to set out a new legislative agenda.

Parliament has had three years to discuss Brexit-it has failed.

Johnson is on course to end this impasse next month...

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Best PM in a long time,

+1 for me. Finally someone with brains and integrity. Mrs May might have the brains but the dealing and wheeling shows her integrity towards the people was questionable.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

Finally someone with brains and integrity.

Integrity? Boris Johnson?

Nope.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

@Alfie Noakes : Democracy sucks, eh?!

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Johnson is a reckless bomb-thrower. Now, after alienating everyone, he is scrambling to cobble together some jury-rigged deal that will be crap. It will be left to the adults in the room to clean up the ensuing mess.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

No BusinessToday 08:33 am JST

@Alfie Noakes : Democracy sucks, eh?!

The 2016 referendum was fraudulent and the charlatan Johnson is now British PM thanks to the 100,000 white, over 65, rich, racist, xenophobic, home counties resident Tory party members who voted for him in the Conservative election. That's not democracy.

8 ( +14 / -6 )

@CrazyJoe

It will be left to the adults in the room to clean up the ensuing mess.

Sounds remarkably like the situation across the pond.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"Boris Johnson news – live: PM loses second attempt to trigger early general election"

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-news-live-brexit-delay-no-deal-election-vote-prorogue-parliamen-a9097146.html

2 ( +5 / -3 )

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson could martyr his Premiership, on the altar of whatever politically the electorate believe in, Parliamentary political imbalances or otherwise

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid could be pivotal to/for future negotiation with the European Union especially over the financial settlement.

An element that will decide future Detente, a verbalism long best forgotten from futures past could be requisite

0 ( +1 / -1 )

... just leave w/o a deal and see what happens.

A suggestion from the “What happens if I press this red button?” school of politics.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

"... just leave w/o a deal and see what happens."

Some just don't get it; they're usually Brexiteers, for some strange reasons.

"UK Queen approves law blocking no-deal Brexit"

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/09/uk-queen-approves-law-blocking-no-deal-brexit-190909173704966.html

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Three years ago the British people voted to leave the EU.

A year later there was a general election in which the majority of votes went to parties saying they'd honour that decision.

And yet, here we are, three years later, and still not out. Parliament has done everything it can to mis-represent the people and frustrate the will of the electorate.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

My money still on leaving with No Deal. And Tories (or Tory Brexit Party coalition) winning the election.  Electorate watching the last shambolic 2 or 3 years will get rid of many of these jokers.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Tokyo-m, spot on! Each and every day tgat Corbyn holds Brexit up, he is proving more and more he is neglecting the people of Britain and instead place his loyalties with the unelected capitalist guns for hire in Brussel. Traitor.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

The very small majority of the 2016 referendum voted to leave, should have required a two-third vote and not a simple majority but there wasn't any questions about leaving without obtaining a suitable exit plan.

Two of the four countries voted to remain.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

France has helped Johnson by saying they'll not negotiate and EU needs to vote on it as a bloc so that's a done no-deal no matter what Parliament wants, whatever that is

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Oar da! Oar da!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

KaerimashitaToday  10:16 am JST

My money still on leaving with No Deal. And Tories (or Tory Brexit Party coalition) winning the election. Electorate watching the last shambolic 2 or 3 years will get rid of many of these jokers.

The main jokers being the ones who managed to con a majority of people who read The Sun and watch Britain's Got Talent into voting for something they had no idea how to deliver. Take Johnson and Gove, for instance. Instead of stepping up to get Brexit through Parliament after Cameron walked away from the mess he'd made, Gove stabbed Johnson in the back, Johnson chickened out of the leadership election and allowed a Remainer became PM.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Best PM in a long time,

PM not elected by the people , trying to force through a mandate that wasnt voted for by the people of the UK (no-deal Brexit) and willingly breaking the laws of the UK even after hes said hed respect those laws. democracies great unless decisions dont go your way hey!

3 ( +7 / -4 )

If he refuses to carry out a parliamentary directive to seek an extension, he'll be removed from office.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Best PM in a long time, delivering on what a majority of the UK electorate voted for. 

He hasn't delivered anything. He's lost every vote he's had as PM. He's suffered more defeats in one week than Brown had in three years, Blair had in ten years, or Thatcher had in 11 years.

Now he's openly threatening to illegally take the UK out of the EU.

The next few days will decide if the UK is a nation ruled by law or by dictator.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

France has helped Johnson by saying they'll not negotiate and EU needs to vote on it as a bloc so that's a done no-deal no matter what Parliament wants, whatever that is

The Washington Post has a report saying France will agree to an extension as long as it's a long one, about 2 years. Which makes sense because you can't sort out a deal as complex as Brexit in a couple of months.

Best PM in a long time, delivering on what a majority of the UK electorate voted for.

Tee hee. Johnson couldn't deliver a pizza. He has a 100% record in the Commons - all loses.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The Leave side of the referendum campaign appeared to appeal to the people for whom the British Empire still existed, who were still fighting WW2, or who just didn't like foreigners. Then you had people who felt that somehow freedom of movement had made school places hard to find, housing too expensive, or blamed it on whatever gripe they had that day. People need someone or something to blame for their perceived ills... in this case 'Johnny Foreigner'.

The general public have no involvement with the EU. Nothing the EU has done has impacted your average man (or woman) in the street in a negative manner.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Told that Dominic Cummings told a meeting on Friday that the people who are cross about his tactics “will melt” when they learn of what he has planned in coming weeks. We’re in the foothills of the chaos.

https://twitter.com/michaelsavage/status/1170439755701596162

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Tangerine2000: One of the world's biggest economies being engulfed in chaos while food runs out and medicine disappears is good, actually.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Oar da! Oar da!

More like Ordure! Ordure!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

One of the world's biggest economies being engulfed in chaos while food runs out and medicine disappears is good, actually.

You forgot that Romania will also declare war on the UK.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Britain has three options.

Stay in the EU and take it up the ass.

Leave with a deal ( whatever deal can be made with the EU is bad ) and take it up the ass.

Or leave and stop taking it up the ass.

Now he's openly threatening to illegally take the UK out of the EU.

Illegally according to who? There was a referendum held 3 years ago. The result was "take the U.K. out of the EU."

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@serranoStay in the EU and take it up the ass.

Another example of the global alt right's homophobia. No wonder they support Putin.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

There was a referendum held

Was it binding?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Boris Johnson delivering?

What the hell are people reading or watching?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Was it binding?

No, but the no No Deal legislation passed last week is.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why does America have trading deals with Canada and Mexico. Because they are the immediate neighbors and also the biggest trading partners.

The UK needs to maintain trade with the EU and other points like freedom of movement. Healthcare like travelling in the EU countries.

The UK still needs the EU and the EU needs the UK.

Leaving without a deal will cause chaos and uncertainty.

Postpone leaving for a further two years and the EU will agree.

Then hold a general election for the party which will take us there.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I am getting excited about leaving with no deal! Are you excited?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

And for all of the silly people getting into a tizz about food shortages and medicine running out, please actually listen to custom experts:

https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/iain-dale/caller-port-of-dover-no-deal-brexit-really-like/

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

And for all of the silly people getting into a tizz about food shortages and medicine running out, please actually listen to custom experts:

So why has the British Government put on stand by 1,600 soldiers for fuel deliveries. Why have the government practiced and put in plans to close the motorway to Dover and turn it into a truck park? The Pharma companies have packed their warehouses to the brim with drugs but why do that unless they believe there will be problems.

What happens when the backstop comes down on Nov 1?

I suppose someone who actually lives in Japan rather than the UK could get excited about leaving with no deal since they won't have to experience it?

Will Bozo obey the new law about not leaving without a deal?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I am getting excited about leaving with no deal! Are you excited?

Frivolous and childish.

I’m more concerned about people’s livelihoods. Excitement isn’t a word I’d use.

The idea of the UK leaving without a deal with the Tories and Johnson in charge is terrifying. These animals off the leash will rip the spines out of the less well-off.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The date of a general election would have to be after Nov 25.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

However, your whole framework is based on being against something

”You just don’t like Boris because you’re anti-crime!”

Uh, yeah. You got me, I’m not a big fan of politicians openly committing crimes. Don’t like Boris. Don't like a Trump. If you’re pro-criminality, that’s an understand position to hold. Dunno how far it would get you, though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

zichi - The very small majority of the 2016 referendum voted to leave,

Welcome to democracy.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Alfie Noakes - The 2016 referendum was fraudulent and the charlatan Johnson is now British PM thanks to the 100,000 white, over 65, rich, racist, xenophobic, home counties resident Tory party members who voted for him in the Conservative election. That's not democracy.

LOL. Are you actually claiming that G.B. isn't a democracy? Are you claiming that white people should not be allowed to vote? In their own country? How rich does someone have to be before you disallow their right to vote?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Johnson tells parliament: You can tie my hands, but I will not delay Brexit

Parliament is in gridlock. I see several ways to end that gridlock.  A) Hold another referendum, and demand that Parliament abide by the results. Set a time limit IF the majority votes to leave. Hope that legislators provide a plan to leave, but demand that G.B. leave by the required date regardless.  B) Hold another election. See how many constituents retain their elected reps. Select a PM. And allow the will of the people to rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Welcome to democracy.

agreed, now if Boris will just follow the laws of the UK and negotiate a deal with the EU since the law now states a no deal Brexit is illegal. got to love democracy, well at least when it works in your favor , right!?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go Boris! I hope the electorate deals later with the Remainer traitors. What a disgusing bunch of corrupt EU brown nosers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

wtfjapan - agreed, now if Boris will just follow the laws of the UK and negotiate a deal with the EU since the law now states a no deal Brexit is illegal. got to love democracy, well at least when it works in your favor , right!?

Will any deal ever be acceptable to the "remainers" in Parliament? They've spent three years not agreeing to any of the deals presented to them. Now they appear to using the "no to no-deal exit" as their reason to remain in the E.U..

In order to end Parliament's gridlock, G.B. needs to either have another referendum to clarify the issue, have a third election (since the stay/go referendum) to restock Parliament with elected representatives who will represent their own constituents, or both.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Go Boris! I hope the electorate deals later with the Remainer traitors. What a disgusing bunch of corrupt EU brown nosers.

What do you mean? How are Remainers "traitors"? How should they be dealt with?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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