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September 8, 2019

Brexit: Johnson camps on his positions, despite a new disavowal


Sun, Sep 08, 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is betting on his Brexit positions despite the disavowal of one of the government's heavyweights, Amber Rudd, who stepped down Saturday night.

Amber Rudd, 56, who voted to stay in the European Union in the June 2016 referendum, believes that the government's "main objective" is no longer to obtain an exit agreement with the European Union, in his letter of resignation.

"The government is devoting a lot of energy to preparing for a + no deal + but I have not seen the same degree of intensity in our discussions with the European Union," she denounces.

It also criticizes the decision to exclude from the Conservative Party 21 moderate members who voted this week with the opposition for a bill to avoid a Brexit without agreement.

MP Thérèse Coffey replaces Amber Rudd as Minister of Labor and Pensions, the government announced on Sunday.

This departure is another blow for the head of government, which has no more majority in Parliament and whose strategy on Brexit has been short-circuited. MPs then the Lords have passed a bill that requires him to postpone by three months the date of Brexit, scheduled for October 31, if he does not find a divorce agreement with the EU by October 19 , just after the next European Council.

The text must receive the approval of Queen Elizabeth II, as of Monday, to become law.

However, Boris Johnson does not seem to move an iota of his position, firmly refusing to extend the membership of the United Kingdom to the European Union.

"I refuse to accept this unnecessary postponement of Corbyn," the Labor opposition leader, wrote Johnson to readers of the tabloid Sunday Express.

"The week has been tough, but in reality, the prime minister is sticking to what he said" on Brexit, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told SkyNews on Sunday.

- "Last chance" -

After a first failure this week, Boris Johnson intends to give a "last chance" Monday to the opposition to vote in favor of early elections. He hopes to get a new majority, with the Conservative Party leading the polls.

If it's a failure, the government will "just continue," according to the Sunday Express.

According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson is ready to ignore the law and let the Supreme Court decide.

"If there is no agreement by the 18th, we will sabotage the postponement," a source told 10 Downing Street at the Sunday Times, while another source told the newspaper that Boris Johnson was ready to tackle "chainsaw" at any obstacle on his way.

"Of course he will not break the law," Dominic Raab assured Sunday. "What we are going to do with this law is to check very carefully what it requires or not," he said.

The Prime Minister has in any case "absolutely not" the intention to ask for additional time at the European Council of 17 and 18 October, reported Sunday on the BBC Finance Minister Sajid Javid.

The anti-no deal text requires a postponement if no agreement is reached with the EU by 19 October. "If we come to this point, we will study all the options," Javid said, without further details.

Any request to postpone Brexit will have to be approved unanimously by the other 27 EU Member States. However, "In the current state of things, it is no," warned Sunday the head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The British "say they want to propose other solutions, alternative arrangements to ensure the withdrawal (...) We have not seen them, so it's no, we will not do it every three months", said Le Drian in the political program Le Grand Rendez-vous Europe1 / CNEWS / Les Echos.

In the United Kingdom, the opposition is learning about the consequences of a possible move by Boris Johnson.

According to the opinion of leading lawyers for Labor and consulted by The Observer, Boris Johnson would face a series of sanctions if he decided to ignore the law.

One of the lawyers consulted, Philippe Sands, explains that he could even end up in prison if he did not respect the will of the Parliament, but that this scenario was unlikely: "He will bow (to the law) or resign" .