AN EU Brexit chief has joined the calls for a general election and slammed any new delay as “unacceptable”.
Guy Verhoftstadt fired off a warning to Remainers just hours after France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drain, said he would refuse any move to extend Brexit.
It comes after the PM had vowed he would “never” delay Brexit despite the House of Lords passing a bill on Friday effectively blocking a No Deal Brexit.
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Verhoftstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit co-ordinator, said another extension would be “unacceptable unless the deadlock in London is broken”.
He added: “Let it be a 2nd ref., new elections, a revocation of art. 50 or the approval of the deal, but not today’s helpless status quo.”
Let it be a 2nd ref., new elections, a revocation of art. 50 or the approval of the deal, but not today’s helpless status quo.
This morning Le Drian gave Boris Johnson an unexpected boost when he said given the current situation, France would reject any extension.
Speaking this morning to Europe 1, he said: “The British say they want to come up with alternative solutions for withdrawal and No Deal, we have not seen them, so it’s ‘no’, we’re not going to do it every three months.”
And the irritated minister slammed the situation in Britain as “disturbing”, adding: “There’s no majority for anything.”
The development came as…
- Amber Rudd quit as Pensions Secretary over “good, loyal, moderate Conservatives” being kicked out of the party
- Chancellor Sajid Javid denied that Boris would break the law to deliver Brexit or resign as PM, while Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said BoJo would “test the law to the limit”
- The Chanceller said the Prime Minister was “straining every sinew” to reach a new agreement with Brussels
- Nigel Farage opened the door to an election pact with the Tories to deliver Brexit
The comments from Verhoftstadt and Le Drian are a slap in the face for Remainer MPs whose newly-passed law forces Boris to seek a three-month deadline extension if no new deal is agreed by Oct 18.
Anti-Brexit MP Amber Rudd had claimed in her resignation Mr Johnson was not spending enough time on getting a new deal, saying: “It’s 80-90 per cent of government time going into No Deal.”
But Chancellor Sajid Javid hit back, insisting the PM was “straining every sinew” to reach a new agreement with Brussels.
Mr Javid also hinted today that No10 has a secret plan to leave the EU on Oct 31 without breaking the law.
After Friday’s Bill was passed by the Lords, BoJo wrote to Tory members saying he would not carry out Parliament’s instructions to ask for another extension – saying he was only bound “in theory” by the law.
He wrote: “They just passed a law that would force me to beg Brussels for an extension to the Brexit deadline. This is something I will never do.”
And former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith urged Boris to be a Brexit “martyr” and defy the will of Parliament.
But many observers, including former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord MacDonald, warned that the Prime Minister could face jail for breaking the law in such a way.
While The Sunday Times reported that Boris was prepared to take his fight to the Supreme Court if necessary, Mr Javid insisted on The Andrew Marr Show no laws would be broken.
He said: “The government will not change its policy, and we will be consistent with obeying the law but also sticking to our policy and you’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
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On Monday Mr Johnson will make a second attempt to trigger a general election – and warn of the consequences if they don’t.
An insider said: “The strategy of Jeremy Corbyn and others is to force the PM to break his promise to leave the EU and get someone else to do the dirty work of extending. But it won’t wash.”
A poll for The Sunday Times today should Boris extending his lead over Labour, as their muddled Brexit policies saw them drop four points to 21%.
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