Published: Sun, October 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Labour Demands Second Referendum as EU Consults on Brexit Delay Request

Labour Demands Second Referendum as EU Consults on Brexit Delay Request

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pressing ahead to try to win parliamentary backing for his new Brexit deal as the European Union considers his grudging request to extend the looming October 31 Brexit deadline.

In yet another twist to the running Brexit drama, Johnson sent three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council.

Mr McDonnell hit out at the way the Prime Minister distanced himself from a legally required request to the European Union for a Brexit extension which he refused to sign.

MPs will thus have to vote without knowing whether European Union leaders will allow an extension - and if so whether they will delay Brexit as far as January 31 next year, as the British letter requested.

Johnson, who refused to sign the letter and insists no delay is necessary, plans to bring the Brexit agreement he reached with Barnier last week to a vote on Monday.

The main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn responded that "the prime minister must now comply with the law" and request an extension to Brexit until January.

The House of Commons, meeting this Saturday in extraordinary session, approved an amendment that obliges the Prime Minister's government to request an extension of Brexit beyond 31 October, the latest date set for Britain's departure from the EU.

Legislators passed an amendment forcing Johnson to seek for an extension until a Withdrawal Bill was passed in the parliament in a 322 to 306 vote.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's promise that his country will leave the European Union by October 31 may be in jeopardy - because of a request he made.

Starmer said on Sunday that his party would put forward amendments to Johnson's Brexit deal legislation, particularly aimed at closing the "trap door" to no-deal Brexit at the end of a transition period in December 2020.

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It is possible that the European Union 27 will grant a "technical extension" of just one month until the end of November to keep pressure on Britain to approve the deal clinched last week.

Three years after the country voted 52% to 48% to leave the European project, many Britons say they are bored with the whole Brexit argument and just want the process to end.

Starmer said what Labour is seeking now is that "this deal in particular but any deal is put up against remain in a referendum". The government hopes to pass a raft of legislation needed to be able to do so by the deadline. Opposition MPs have warned the PM that if he tries to circumvent Parliament's instructions to seek a delay, then he may find himself in the law courts.

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said later the vote would happen on Monday.

British media said Mr Johnson made it clear in the correspondence that he personally opposed an extension, with the Prime Minister previously saying he would rather be "dead in a ditch" before asking for a delay.

So far, the party, which holds 10 seats in Parliament, has refused to support Johnson's deal because it treats Northern Ireland differently than other parts of the United Kingdom.

Johnson said he would ask for the extension if necessary, but "it can not change my judgment that further delay is pointless, expensive and deeply corrosive of public trust".

Lawmakers had been called to work for the first time on a Saturday since the 1982 Falklands War to debate and approve Johnson's deal.

Tusk confirmed he has received the extension request from Johnson.

Labour's shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer told the BBC on Sunday: "The law is very clear".

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