British MPs force Johnson to seek new Brexit delay

LONDON (AFP) – British MPs voted yesterday to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the European Union to delay Brexit yet again but he insisted Britain must leave on October 31.

In a day of high drama in the House of Commons, MPs declined to give their backing to the divorce agreement Johnson struck with the European Union (EU) this week until accompanying legislation has been passed.

In doing so, MPs triggered a law requiring Johnson to write to EU leaders asking to delay Brexit to avoid a “no deal” departure in less than two weeks.

The result is a major blow to Johnson, who said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than prolong the tortuous Brexit process that has left Britain in political turmoil since the 2016 EU referendum.

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

He said he would tell EU leaders that “further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy”.

Brussels urged Britain to explain its plan as soon as possible while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party opposed the deal, said, “The prime minister must now comply with the law.”

Demonstrators hold placards during a march by the People’s Vote organisation in central London. PHOTO: AFP