Humiliated Boris Johnson refused to sign a letter asking the EU for a new Brexit deadline of January 31 and sent a second one saying he will not negotiate an extension.

The Prime Minister got a senior diplomat to send a photocopy of a request for a Brexit extension from MPs, stressing it is “Parliament’s letter” and not his.

The wording was copied from the Benn Act, which forced him to seek another delay and prevented Britain from crashing out of the bloc without a deal on October 31.

After suffering an embarrassing defeat in the Commons over his Brexit plans, Mr Johnson sent additional documents saying he does not want and will not negotiate an extension with the EU because a further delay would be “deeply corrosive”.

European Council president Donald Tusk has confirmed he has received the extension request from the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t sign the letter to the EU

 

He wrote on Twitter: “The extension request has just arrived.

“I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react.”

But Mr Johnson’s stance is likely to spark a fierce political row.

The Prime Minister, who was required by law to ask for an extension, sent three documents to the EU, the Sunday Times reported. 

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The first was a photocopy of draft text laid out in a law which compelled him to ask for the delay and a new deadline of 11pm on January 31, 2020.

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The second was a cover note written by a civil servant saying Johnson had been forced to send the letter.

He also sent a further message in which he spelled out that he did not want any extension.

The move came after a defiant Prime Minister told the Commons he will not negotiate a fresh Brexit extension with the EU as more than a million people took part in a People’s Vote march in central London calling for a second referendum and a “final say” on the plan.

Protesters’ float depicting No10 aide Dominic Cummings using Boris Johnson as a puppet

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At a special Saturday sitting, MPs voted by 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment withholding approval of his Brexit deal until legislation to implement it is in place.

The amendment tabled by former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin was intended to force him to comply with the so-called Benn Act requiring him to seek a Brexit extension.

The PM rang European leaders, including Mr Tusk, declaring that the letter “is Parliament’s letter, not my letter”.

The development came as Mr Johnson wrote to all Tory MPs and peers insisting that he will tell Brussels a further Brexit delay is “not a solution” to the situation.

European Council President Donald Tusk and the PM at the G7 summit earlier this year

In a letter to members of the Tory parliamentary party, he wrote: “I will tell the European Union what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.”

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He added: “It is quite possible that our friends in the European Union will reject Parliament’s request for a further delay (or not take a decision quickly).”

Mr Johnson also discussed the situation with French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.

Amid noisy Commons scenes, Mr Johnson insisted that he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the vote result, and remained committed to taking Britain out by October 31.

“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, neither does the law compel me to do so,” he said.

Mr Johnson’s letter to MPs saying he would tell the EU an extension was “not a solution”

Asked if previous statements from ministers that the Government would comply with the law as it still stood, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “Governments comply with the law.”

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told supporters he would challenge the Government “all the way” over Europe, and the answer to the country’s problems was socialism.

Speaking at a raucous party rally in Liverpool on Saturday night, the Labour leader said his party would reject Mr Johnson’s deal with the European Union as he mobilised for a general election.

Mr Corbyn said: “And he came with his plan, well we’ve got answers to his plan for our relationship to Europe because that plan was all about thumping our workers’ rights, taking away consumer protections, damaging our environment, damaging the Good Friday Agreement.

“But the real purpose behind it is, what they want for the future, which is, as I said in my speech today, is what he’s done today, if he succeeds is fire the starting gun in a race to the bottom.

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“We will challenge them all the way, in Parliament next week, we challenge them in crashing out of the EU and we as a movement will come together, those that voted leave or remain have all got a place in the Labour Party and the labour movement.

“What unites us is our determination for socialism.”





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