Brexit Latest: Will Britain Leave the European Union on October 31?

Tuesday, 22 Oct, 2019

LONDON (AP) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pressing ahead to try to win parliamentary backing for his new Brexit deal as the European Union considers his grudging request to extend the looming October 31 Brexit deadline.

The government is determined to pass the PM's great new deal and get us out of the European Union on October 31 ...

Speaker John Bercow says the vote the government wants is "in substance the same" as one held on Saturday and so breaches Parliament's rules. The government plans to publish its Brexit legislation, the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, on Monday evening, with the first round of debating and voting in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Meanwhile, MPs who support a second referendum are likely to table an amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill making the approval of any Brexit deal conditional on another public vote.

The UK is due to leave the EU in 10 days, and while Mr Johnson and fellow EU leaders have agreed a new deal to allow that to happen, it can not come into force until it is approved by both the UK and European parliaments. United Kingdom law requires the PM to accept a three-month extension to 31 January 2020 automatically, and if another date is offered it would be up to parliament rather than the government to decide whether to accept it.

The government said Johnson fulfilled that obligation by sending a letter on Saturday asking for the postponement.

Anti-Brexit campaigners said they would ask a Scottish court on Monday to delay its ruling on a legal challenge that sought to force Johnson to comply with a law requiring him to request a delay to Brexit in the event that no agreement had been approved.

At home, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he believes Johnson has enough support to get his deal through Parliament, but added the government would keep talking with its Northern Ireland ally, the Democratic Unionist Party, to persuade it to back the deal.

"The motion will not be debated today because it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so", Bercow said.

France's European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin voiced frustration at another Brexit impasse, sparked by Remainer MPs, saying Paris needed swift clarification on the situation after Boris Johnson was forced by his opponents to send a letter seeking another delay from the bloc.

"But the PM has made the request for an extension he promised he wouldn't make, the European Union is considering that request, and the question whether the PM and Advocate General for Scotland are in contempt of court is one for the Inner House", he said. Both Johnson's Conservatives and opposition parties want to have an election that could shake up the parliamentary arithmetic and break the Brexit logjam. He added that "it's not all in our gift", and that European Union leaders may look at both letters and deny the request for a delay.

"We will have somewhat more clarity in the coming days, and we will then exercise our responsibility and quickly make a decision", Germany's Peter Altmaier said.

"One can not rule out a Brexit within 10 days", she told Sud-Radio.

Ministers are hopeful that if they are given a free run at pushing through Johnson's plan - when they tried to do so on Saturday, it was amended to delay the moment of truth - the numbers will be there.

Some Brexiteers are holding out hope that one of the national leaders on the Council will exercise their right of veto, but the bloc appears poised to agree a Brexit delay until February, according to The Times. They feared that hardline Brexiters could support the new Brexit deal on Saturday to meet the requirements of the Benn Act, but then vote against legislation to implement the deal - thereby forcing a no deal exit on the 31st of October.