© AFP / by Ola CICHOWLAS | Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson heads to Moscow for the first official visit by a miniter from London in five years. © AFP / by Ola CICHOWLAS | Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson heads to Moscow for the first official visit by a miniter from London in five years.

British Government asks for EU delay amid Johnson resistance

By: MENA
Sun, Oct. 20, 2019
WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (MENA) - The British government formally asked the European Union on Saturday to delay the country’s departure from the bloc for the third time, a request Prime Minister Boris Johnson had long resisted but that was forced after lawmakers deferred a critical vote on his new Brexit deal, Wall Street Journal reported.

Johnson, who didn’t sign the letter, sent a second one calling Parliament’s decision regrettable and urging EU leaders not to grant an extension.

“A further extension would damage the interests of the U.K. and our EU partners,” he said. “We must bring this process to a conclusion.”

The government request marks a political setback for Mr. Johnson just days after he successfully concluded a renegotiation of Britain’s EU withdrawal terms that his political opponents assumed was all but impossible.

Lawmakers meeting in the first Saturday session since the 1982 Falklands War decided to push back a major vote on Mr. Johnson’s Brexit deal to allow for more scrutiny of the details. An earlier law required the prime minister to request a three-month extension to the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline if Parliament hadn’t ratified a withdrawal agreement by midnight.

European Council President Donald Tusk said on Twitter the extension request had arrived and he would begin consulting with EU leaders. EU leaders will respond in the coming days.

Mr. Johnson is hoping he can secure lawmakers’ backing early next week for his Brexit deal to ensure any delay to Britain’s departure from the bloc is brief. The government said there was still time to leave the EU at the end of the month.

Parliament said it needed more time to review Mr. Johnson’s deal, which sets out citizens’ rights, a financial settlement to the EU and a special arrangement for Northern Ireland that would require customs checks on goods arriving there from elsewhere in the U.K.
 
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