Breaking News
0

Over to EU on Brexit delay, Johnson says after parliament rejects swift decision

ForexOct 22, 2019 04:38PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson is seen at the House of Commons in London

By William James, Kylie MacLellan and Elizabeth Piper

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday it was up to the EU to decide whether it wanted to delay Brexit and for how long, after a defeat in parliament made ratification of his deal by the Oct. 31 deadline almost impossible.

As the clock ticks down to the deadline for Britain's departure, Brexit is hanging in the balance as a divided parliament debates when, how and even whether it should happen.

In another day of Brexit drama in the 800-year-old Westminster parliament, lawmakers handed Johnson the first major parliamentary victory of his premiership by signaling their support for his deal in an early legislative hurdle.

But that was overshadowed just minutes later when parliament defeated him on his timetable to rush the legislation through the House of Commons in just three days.

Lawmakers voted 329 to 299 in favor of the second reading of the legislation for the deal - still no guarantee of success since the bill could be amended by lawmakers who want changes.

They then voted 322 to 308 against Johnson's extremely tight timetable, which the government has repeatedly said is necessary to reach Johnson's target of leaving on Oct. 31.

"I must express my disappointment that the House has yet again voted for delay," Johnson told parliament.

The next step, he said, would be waiting for the EU to respond to a request to delay the Oct. 31 Brexit date, which Johnson reluctantly sent to Brussels on Saturday after being forced to do so by lawmakers.

"The EU must now make up their minds over how to answer parliament's request for a delay," he said. "The government must take the only responsible course and accelerate our preparations for a no-deal outcome."

Johnson was forced by opponents into the humiliation of asking the EU for the delay after vowing he would never seek one, but had still hoped to make the request unnecessary by passing the Brexit law fast enough to leave on time.

"I will speak to EU member states about their intentions, until they have reached a decision we will pause this legislation," Johnson said. "Let me be clear, our policy remains that we should not delay."

The pound fell 0.6% to $1.2881, off the 5-1/2 month highs hit earlier in the session on optimism about the deal.

EU TO DELAY?

The EU has not yet formally responded to Johnson's unsigned photocopy of a letter asking for more time.

The length of any extension could decide the course of Brexit: a long delay would allow opponents of the divorce to push for another referendum. A short delay might increase pressure on parliament to approve a deal.

The European Commission took note on Tuesday of the vote in the British parliament and said it would wait for London to tell it what's next.

"European Council President (Donald Tusk) is consulting leaders on the UK’s request for an extension until 31 January 2020," she said. A spokesman for Tusk declined comment.

Senior EU officials said the 27 countries that would remain in the EU after Britain leaves would "certainly not" react immediately. "We stay calm," one senior diplomat said.

Irish PM Leo Varadkar welcomed the vote in favor of Johnson's legislation.

"We will now await further developments from London and Brussels about next steps including timetable for the legislation and the need for an extension," Varadkar said.

Ahead of the vote, Johnson had warned parliament that if it defeated him on the timetable and forced a delay until January then he would abandon his attempt to ratify the deal and push for an election instead under the slogan of "Get Brexit Done".

In his statement after the votes in parliament, Johnson did not mention an election. Johnson would need the support of parliament to call one.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Johnson to work with other parties to ensure a reasonable timetable to discuss the deal. Some in the Labour Party expect a short extension, with Brexit being resolved and then an election within months.

Behind the daily Brexit combat in parliament, in the courts and at late-night EU summits, a much bigger game is being played over whether Brexit will happen at all.

Johnson faces legislative booby traps at every juncture, but the opponents of Brexit are also deeply divided - one of the reasons their campaign to "Remain" failed in the 2016 vote.

Over to EU on Brexit delay, Johnson says after parliament rejects swift decision
 

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email