British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday told the European Union that the United Kingdom was ready to leave the bloc without a Brexit deal on October 31 “come what may”, AFP reported. Johnson made the remarks even as he prepared to submit a new Brexit plan.
Johnson, speaking at the Conservative Party’s conference in Manchester, attacked the British Parliament for seeking to block Brexit, The Guardian reported. Outlining the details of a new Brexit plan, Johnson said the only alternative to its acceptance by the European Union was a no-deal Brexit.
“That is not an outcome we want, it is not an outcome we seek at all – but let me tell you, my friends, it is an outcome for which we are ready,” Johnson said. The British prime minister said in a message to the European Union that there can be no checks at or near the Northern Ireland border, a compromise both sides should make.
“And by a process of renewable democratic consent by the executive and assembly of Northern Ireland we will go further and protect the existing regulatory arrangements for farmers and other businesses on both sides of the border,” Johnson said.
However, he confirmed that he would insist that Northern Ireland leave the customs union immediately, along with the United Kingdom. While these would necessitate some customs checks, Johnson said these would not take place at the border.
“I hope very much that our friends understand that and compromise in their turn,” Johnson said. “Because if we fail to get an agreement because of what is essentially a technical discussion of the exact nature of future customs checks, when that technology is improving the whole time, then let us be in no doubt that the alternative is no deal.”
The British prime minister also criticised Parliament saying it “refuses to deliver Brexit, refuses to do anything constructive and refuses to have an election”.
Johnson had asked Queen Elizabeth II to suspend the Parliament for a month on August 28, with the proceedings to resume only on October 14. This left a week between the MPs’ return from summer break and the suspension and no time for politicians to block no-deal Brexit from happening.
However, Scotland’s top court ruled last month that Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful. A three-judge panel of the Court of Session passed the judgment in favour of a cross-party group of political leaders, who had challenged Johnson’s decision.
On September 9, Parliament rejected Johnson’s second call to hold a snap election in the UK on October 15, two weeks before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. A bill stopping a no-deal Brexit became law on the same day. It mandated Johnson to seek a three-month extension to the Brexit deadline of October 31, unless Parliament approves a Brexit deal or agrees to leave the European Union without one by October 19.
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