British PM Johnson sticks to no-deal Brexit
10 September 2019
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said there is no looking back on Britain pulling out of the European Union despite attempts by lawmakers to block a no-deal Brexit, setting the stage for showdown in parliament.
Johnson decided to overlook a legislation passed by parliament demanding that he delay Brexit unless he strikes a new agreement.
A bill demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson delay Britain's withdrawal from the EU on 31 October if he cannot get a divorce deal became law on Monday with the queen giving her assent to it, but the PM’s office insisted that Brexit would happen by that date, "no ifs and buts".
Parliament was also likely to reject Johnson's call on Monday for a snap general election, which he is seeking in order to break a deadlock over Brexit that has intensified since he took office in July pledging to get on with the departure.
Johnson stuck to his decision despite Ireland's Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar also opposed a no-deal Brexit, and demanded specific proposals on the future of the Irish border.
"In the absence of agreed alternative arrangements, no backstop is no deal for us," Varadkar, standing beside Johnson outside the Irish government, 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."
A spokesman for Johnson said that parliament would be suspended from Monday evening, ruling out an election before 31 October unless parliament is recalled early.
Also, a snap election amidst the Brexit storm is more likely to go against Johnson.
Brexit, the UK’s trump card against the EU for decades, however, remain elusive more than three years after the 2016 referendum that gave Brexiters a majority.
Johnson, a former journalist, who later became the face of the 2016 Vote Leave campaign, has repeatedly promised to deliver Brexit on 31 October.
He has put up a brave face against an alliance of opposition lawmakers and rebels from his own Conservative Party and neighbor Ireland, which is still with the EU and wants Britain to have some stop-gap arrangement for the two countries to ease the economic pain.