Smarting under Brexit defeat, Boris Johnson sends unsigned letter to EU head - GulfToday

Smarting under Brexit defeat, Boris Johnson sends unsigned letter to EU head


Prime Minister Boris Johnson. File photo

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who received a nasty jolt after British MPs voted to defer Brexit beyond the October 31 deadline, sent an unsigned letter to the European Union requesting a delay to Britain's exit from the group. In the missive, he also wrote that he did not want the extension after his latest Brexit faliure.

Johnson had put everything at stake in trying to meet the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain's divorce from the European Union.

Earlier, he had reportedly stated that he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask for any extension.

But he was compelled, by a law passed last month by opponents, to send a letter to the bloc asking to push back the deadline to Jan.31 after lawmakers thwarted his attempt to pass his EU divorce deal on Saturday.

A government source said Johnson sent a total of three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council: a photocopy of the text that the law, known as the Benn Act, forced him to write; a cover note from Britain's EU envoy saying the government was simply complying with that law; and a third letter in which Johnson said he did not want an extension.

"I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister and made clear to parliament again today, my view, and the Government's position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us," Johnson said in the third letter, published on Twitter by the Financial Times' Brussels correspondent.

Johnson, for whom delivering Brexit is key to his plan to hold an early election, said he was confident that the process of getting the Brexit legislation through Britain's parliament would be completed before Oct. 31, according to the letter.

Tusk said he had received the request from Johnson.

"I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react," he said on Twitter.

French President Emmanuel Macron told Johnson that Paris needed swift clarification on the situation after Saturday's vote, an official at the French presidency told the media.

"He signalled a delay would be in no one's interest," the official said.

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