25 Sep. 2019
London, United Kingdom
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will refuse to seek a delay to Brexit, raising fears he could try to exploit a loophole to bypass legislation aimed at preventing the country leaving the European Union without a deal.
Johnson has made what appears to be two contradictory statements: he will obey the law, but will not request an extension to Britain's scheduled Oct. 31 exit.
Junior Brexit minister James Duddridge was repeatedly asked by lawmakers in parliament on Thursday how the prime minister could do both. He said the government's "Plan A" was to get round the law by agreeing a Brexit deal.
Under the so-called Benn Act if, by Oct. 19, the government has not got parliamentary approval for a divorce deal with Brussels or for leaving the EU without a deal, Johnson must request a delay until Jan. 31, 2020. The act even gives a text of the letter he must send.
So how could Johnson avoid a Brexit delay? (Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan)
Parliament TV via REUTERS