British PM Boris Johnson vows to stay put to hit October 31 Brexit deadline
Boris Johnson vowed yesterday he would not quit as Britain’s prime minister even if he fails to secure a deal to leave the European Union, saying only his Conservative government can deliver Brexit on Oct. 31. At the beginning of his party’s annual conference in the northern city of Manchester, Johnson wants to rally his party with the “do or die” message that he will deliver Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal.
But there are hurdles to clear, not least of which is what Johnson calls “the surrender act” - the law parliament passed to force the prime minister to request a Brexit delay if he has not secured a deal with Brussels by an Oct. 17-18 EU summit. Johnson again declined to explain how he plans to circumvent that law and deliver on his Brexit promise, deepening uncertainty around Britain’s biggest trade and foreign policy shift for more than 40 years.
“People can feel that this country is approaching an important moment of choice and we have to get on and we have to del i ve r Brexit on October the 31st ... I’m going to get on and do it,” he told BBC television. Asked if he would resign to avoid having to ask for a delay, Johnson said: “No, I have undertaken to lead the party and my country at a difficult time and I am goi n g t o continue to do that.
I believe it is my responsibility.” Opposition lawmakers have been highly critical of Johnson’s reference to “the surrender bill”, saying his language is stirring even more division in a country that has remained split since the 2016 referendum on EU membership. Johnson said he is still hopeful of securing a “good deal” but added that he would not pretend it will be easy.
“It is certainly true that other EU countries also don’t want this thing to keep dragging on, and they don’t want the UK to remain in the EU truculent and mutinous and in a limbo and not wishing to cooperate in the way that they would like,” he said. “There is a strong view across the EU that it is time to move on.” More than three years after Britain voted to leave the EU, both the governing Conservative Party and others are getting ready for an early election.