UK PM Boris Johnson: Deeply regret missing Brexit deadline

Updated: Nov 04, 2019, 12:26 IST | Agencies | London

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says only a Tory government led by him could deliver Britain's exit from the EU within the new time frame

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

London: Boris Johnson said on Sunday that it was a matter of "deep regret" for him to have missed the October 31 Brexit deadline and blamed parliament for the delay in his election campaign fight back. The British prime minister admitted that it was a "big if" that the Conservative Party would win a majority in the December 12 election but insisted that it was only a Tory government led by him that could deliver Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) within the new January 31, 2020, time frame.

"It’s (missing the Brexit deadline) a matter of deep regret," said Johnson in an interview with Sky News. "But what we need to do now is get on and do it, and the difference between this government and any other party is that only this government offers a deal that is ready to go and a way of delivering it immediately in the middle of December, if we’re lucky enough to get a majority and, of course, it’s a big if and we’ll be working very hard," he said.

Pressed on whether the public could trust him to keep a promise and deliver on it, he said, "But don’t forget the circumstances in which that happened. It happened because parliament passed the surrender act." The so-called Benn Act had been branded a "surrender act" by Downing Street because it forced Johnson by law to send a letter to the EU seeking a three-month extension if the UK parliament had not cleared a withdrawal agreement by mid-October.

The EU had accepted that extension request and offered the January 2020 deadline, leading to Johnson tabling a motion for a snap election next month.

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