Only way to break impasse is election: PM - GulfToday

Only way to break impasse is election: PM


Boris Johnson leaves the 10 Downing Street in London on Thursday. Associated Press

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that the only way to break Britain’s Brexit impasse is a general election, and he will ask Parliament to approve a national poll for Dec.12.

Johnson said he would ask lawmakers to vote on Monday on a motion calling for an early election.

Johnson has been mulling his next move since Tuesday, when lawmakers blocked his attempt to fast-track a EU divorce bill through Parliament in a matter of days.

Lawmakers said they needed more time to scrutinise the legislation, making it all but impossible for Britain to leave the EU on the scheduled date of Oct.31 with a deal.

The British government has been awaiting the EU’s decision on whether to postpone the UK’s departure to prevent a chaotic no-deal exit. The request for a delay until Jan.31 was ordered by Britain’s Parliament to avert the economic damage that could come from a no-deal exit.

Though the EU has not given its answer, Johnson said it looked like the EU would grant the extension — and with it kill off Johnson’s oft-repeated promise that Britain will leave the EU at the end of this month.

“I’m afraid it looks as though our EU friends are going to respond to Parliament’s request by having an extension, which I really don’t want at all,” Johnson said.

Britain’s next scheduled election is in 2022. If Johnson wants an early election, he needs to win a vote in Parliament by a two-thirds majority, or lose a no-confidence vote, which so far opposition parties have refused to call.

The main opposition Labour Party has said it would “support a general election when the threat of a no-deal crash-out is off the table.”

European Council President Donald Tusk has recommended that the other 27 EU nations grant Britain a delay, yet many of the bloc’s members are weary and frustrated at Britain’s interminable Brexit melodrama. But they also want to avoid the economic pain that would come to both sides from a sudden and disruptive British exit.

So they are likely to agree, although politicians in France say President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a shorter extension than the three months that Britain has asked for. Johnson has vowed that, sooner or later, the UK will leave the EU on the terms of the deal he negotiated with the bloc.

Associated Press

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