PM Johnson accepts Brexit delay after failed election push
29 October 2019
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday lost his bid to push through a vote in favour of a 12 December snap general election after MPs voted against the motion.
The development came after the European Union allowed a three-month delay in Britain’s departure from the bloc as Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to get parliament nod for his deal with the EU and pushed for an election rather than seeking another extension as demanded by opponents of the deal.
Johnson formally accepted the Brexit delay by informing the British Parliament as he moved his election bid before MPs and MPS voted it out. He also admitted that “nobody relished” the idea of the winter polls.
“I think the leader of the Opposition has now run out of excuses,” he added, in a direct challenge to the Opposition Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn accused Johnson of wanting an election “because he has chosen to fail, and he now seeks to blame Parliament”.
“Every promise this Prime Minister makes he then abandons. He said he would take us out of the European Union by the 31st of October ‘do or die’. He spent 100 million pounds on an advertising campaign to leave on the 31st of October. But failed to deliver,” Corbyn told MPs during Monday’s Commons session ahead of a debate on the government’s election bid.
Johnson, who became prime minister in July, had pledged a “do or die”, Brexit at 2300 n 31 October, but was forced to seek a postponement after his deal was defeated in parliament.
And, now, days before Britain is formally due to leave the EU, Brexit is hanging fire, and British politicians are undecided as to if and when the divorce should take place.
This means Johnson’s “do or die” pledge to exit the EU by 31 October is now dead and there is no option other than accept the delayed Brexit after failing to push through a snap General Election.
Johnson had on Monday urged the House of Commons to back his 12 December poll date because the current Parliament had “run its course”.
“We must have December 12 as a ‘hard stop’. A parliamentary terminus that everyone can believe in, and an election fulfills that purpose to allow a new Parliament and a new government to be in place by Christmas,” Johnson told the Commons.
EU member states will need Britain to formally reply to its offer of a three-month delay before launching a “written procedure” whereby governments will have 24 hours to accept or reject.
“We can only launch the written procedure when we have the agreement of the UK government on the text,” a senior EU official said. Johnson is obliged by legislation passed by parliament last month to accept an extension once offered.
Johnson will respond to the EU’s delay offer once he has reviewed the details, his spokesman said on Monday.
According to senior EU diplomats, the written procedure period agreed was 24 hours, effective from the time London accepts the offer of a Brexit delay from 31 October to 31 January.
Britain’s departure has already been delayed twice — from March 29 and April 12 — after Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, failed three times to get her deal ratified by parliament.