London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was Sunday branded a ‘spoilt brat’ by the Opposition after he sent an unsigned letter seeking a three-month extension to the October 31 deadline from the European Union (EU).
The UK PM was bound by law to issue a letter seeking a delay to Brexit after MPs voted in a historic Super Saturday Parliament session to delay voting on his motion on a new Brexit deal.
Boris Johnson has previously said he would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than miss the October 31 deadline and had triggered speculation soon after the House of Commons vote by declaring that he would not negotiate an extension.
However, given the Benn Act passed by MPs last month to avert a no-deal crash-out from the economic bloc meant that Johnson was obliged to send an extension letter by the end of October 19 unless a new Brexit deal had been passed through by the Commons.
“The United Kingdom proposes that this (extension) period should end at 11.00pm GMT, January 31, 2020. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the government proposes that the period should be terminated early,” reads the unsigned letter sent Saturday night to European Council (EU) president Donald Tusk on Saturday night.
While the Downing Street stance is that the UK PM has complied with the Benn Act by sending the Parliament’s letter, there is some speculation if it opens up the prospect of legal action by it being an unsigned request.
In an accompanied signed letter to Tusk, the UK PM repeated his pledge of leaving the EU within the October 31 deadline by pressing ahead with the requisite legislation next week to seek Parliament’s ratification for his withdrawal agreement.
“I have made clear since becoming prime minister, and made clear to Parliament again today (Sunday), my view, and the government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us,” Johnson stated, insisting that the prolonged Brexit process must be brought to a conclusion to prevent a ‘corrosive impact’ from further delays.
Donald Tusk took to Twitter to say the UK’s extension request has been received and that he would consult with EU leaders on ‘how to react’.