UK's Johnson asks for a Brexit delay that he doesn't want

Tuesday, 22 Oct, 2019

But the tactics of MPs, and the optics of Bercow blocking a second vote - however in line with procedure - will help feed into Johnson's preferred "people v parliament" election narrative, in which he would fight as a prime minister who delivered a deal but was thwarted by those seeking to delay or obstruct Brexit. "I have been blindsided on this matter, as others have been", Bercow told parliament after Rees-Mogg's announcement.

He said sterling had the potential to rise if Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's claim that the United Kingdom government had the numbers to push through Johnson's deal proved correct.

Success or failure then would set the course for the coming week and largely determine whether Johnson's will get his October 31 divorce.

Johnson is trying to secure an October 31 break from Brussels that severs numerous island nation's economic relations with Europe after 46 years of European Union membership.

The bloc said the fact Johnson had not signed the letter was irrelevant.

He said: "The court considers that the case should be continued until clear that the obligations under the 2019 Act have been complied with in full".

However they are likely to face opposition attempts to amend the legislation including the "programme motion" setting out the Commons timetable for the Bill.

It meant that instead of decisive developments over the weekend, the market was still waiting to see how the situation would play out, Rodrigo Catril, a senior forex strategist at National Australia Bank said.

Despite the stinging rebuke in Parliament on Saturday, the prime minister returns there Monday to keep seeking support for his Brexit proposal, which was approved Thursday by European Union leaders.

British lawmakers who do not support the government's planned timetable to pass legislation to ratify its Brexit deal will be voting not to leave the European Union on October 31, the leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Monday. "I remain confident that we will complete that process by 31 October".

European Parliament's chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt, said last week MEPs will only start their work once the UK Parliament has passed a fully binding Brexit deal, and if that slips past the European plenary session this week, it may have to be picked up in the session that begins on November 13. The vote will undoubtedly be close, particularly now the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have said they will not support this kind of amendment.

A previous vote on staying in the customs union was defeated by just three votes - although three Tory MPs who backed it are now government ministers, and another supporter, the Scottish Tory Paul Masterton, said he would not do so again.

The government said it planned for the legislation to complete its House of Commons stages by the end of Thursday, prompting anger from many lawmakers that the tight schedule would not provide enough time to properly scrutinize the legislation. Gove said the European Union was "waiting to see what parliament does now".

European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said Monday that European Council President Donald Tusk had acknowledged receiving the Brexit extension request and was now talking with the EU's other 27 leaders about it.

"What we are trying to achieve is that this deal in particular, but any deal, is put up against Remain in a referendum", the party's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer told the BBC.

The manoeuvre is created to minimise the political damage of Johnson going back on his word and seeking an extension ahead of an early general election most expect in the coming months.