Boris Johnson rages at ‘yellow belly’ Jeremy Corbyn for BLOCKING election call

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Boris Johnson raged at ‘yellow belly’ Jeremy Corbyn for blocking his snap election call in the Commons tonight.

The PM accused the Labour leader and Remainers of ‘conniving to delay Brexit’ – jibing that ‘hell will freeze over’ before they let the people decide the country’s fate.

The brutal attack came as Mr Johnson made another bid to force a snap poll before Parliament is suspended until next month.

Downing Street has confirmed prorogation will happen this evening even if – as expected – the PM loses his latest effort. 

Opening the debate tonight, Mr Johnson said he did not want an election but ‘accepted the reality’ that it was ‘the only way to break the deadlock in this House’ and get a ‘strong mandate’.

He pointed out that Mr Corbyn had repeatedly claimed he wanted a public vote, adding: ‘And yet, throughout the weekend, his cronies – together with those of other opposition parties – have been trying to disguise their preposterous yellow bellies by coming up with ever more outrageous excuses for delaying an election until the end of October, or perhaps November – or perhaps until hell freezes over.’

In the Commons tonight, Boris Johnson accused the Labour leader and Remainers of 'conniving to delay Brexit' - jibing that 'hell will freeze over' before they let the people decide the country's fate

In the Commons tonight, Boris Johnson accused the Labour leader and Remainers of ‘conniving to delay Brexit’ – jibing that ‘hell will freeze over’ before they let the people decide the country’s fate

Mr Johnson is scrambling to find a way of sidestepping rebel legislation ordering him to beg the EU for an extension if no agreement has been agreed by October 19 – something he has described as a ‘surrender’.

He reiterated tonight that there are no circumstances under which he would postpone. ‘I will not ask for another delay,’ he said.  ‘The public have had enough of the delectable disputations in this House.’

One ploy being considered by aides involves the premier sending a letter asking for an extension – as required by the law – but also another one demanding the bloc ignores the request.

The suggestion has been slammed by Labour former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer who said the move could break the law – while ex-Cabinet minister David Gauke said the second letter would ‘carry no weight’. 

Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption also rejected the idea that sending two contradictory letters to the EU would be legal.

‘No, of course it wouldn’t,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension.

‘To send the letter and then try to neutralise it seems to me, plainly, a breach of the Act.

‘What you’ve got to realise is the courts are not very fond of loopholes.’

Eurosceptics have been ramping up pressure on Mr Johnson – who met Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar in Dublin earlier – to stick to his promise not to delay the UK’s departure.

Eurosceptics have been ramping up pressure on Boris Johnson – pictured meeting Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar in Dublin this morning – to stick to his promise not to delay the UK’s departure from the EU

Speaking alongside Mr Varadkar in Dublin today, Boris Johnson (left) conceded that No Deal would be a bad outcome for both sides, saying it would amount to a 'failure of statecraft' and politicians would be 'responsible'

Speaking alongside Mr Varadkar in Dublin today, Boris Johnson (left) conceded that No Deal would be a bad outcome for both sides, saying it would amount to a ‘failure of statecraft’ and politicians would be ‘responsible’

Mr Varadkar warned that the Brexit issues will not end if the PM forces through a damaging No Deal at the end of October

Mr Varadkar warned that the Brexit issues will not end if the PM forces through a damaging No Deal at the end of October

Some suggested on a private WhatsApp group that he should simply ignore the legislation.

And Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told MailOnline today that becoming a ‘martyr to democracy’ could be Mr Johnson’s only option. 

‘Unfortunately democracy has an insatiable appetite for martyrs. He could end up being one of those – collateral damage,’ he said. 

However, in the face of Cabinet resignation threats the PM has signalled to ministers he will not openly breach the legislation. 

On another extraordinary day of political manoeuvring: 

  • Speaker John Bercow announced that he is standing down from the Commons by the current Brexit deadline of October 31; 
  • A former judge said the courts could order the civil service to beg the EU for a Brexit extension if the PM refuses to abide by rebel legislation; 
  • Nigel Farage said his Brexit Party will not run candidates against Tory Eurosceptics who back a ‘clean break’ from the EU at a looming general election; 
  • Conservative Brexiteers suggested Mr Johnson could be a ‘martyr for democracy’ if he defied the law and faced action in the courts; 
  • Another Tory rebel, former minister Richard Benyon, announced he is standing down from Parliament after being stripped of the party whip;  

Tory MPs toasted the departure of ‘pompous’ Speaker Bercow tonight after he delivered a stinging parting shot at Mr Johnson and Brexiteers.

Mr Bercow effectively jumped before he was pushed after Conservatives vowed to oust him at the looming election over his handling of Remainer rebel legislation. 

Watched by wife Sally from the public gallery and to cheers and laughter from Labour MPs, Mr Bercow laid out a symbolic date for his departure – saying the least disruptive thing would be for him to quit on October 31. That is the current deadline for Brexit, which he has been accused of wrecking.  

In a series of stinging shots at Mr Johnson, a tearful Mr Bercow said he made ‘no apology’ for being the ‘backbenchers’ backstop’ while in the chair – warning against ‘degrading’ Parliament. 

Opposition MPs gave Mr Bercow – who will walk away with a gold-plated £1million non-contributory pension after 10 years in the famous green chair – a standing ovation after his announcement. He was also praised by MEP Guy Verhofstadt who trolled that he should be the UK’s next EU commissioner.

How does suspending Parliament affect the Brexit timetable? 

Downing Street has confirmed that Parliament will be prorogued by the end of the sitting tonight. 

That means neither the Commons nor the Lords is due to sit again until October 14.

However, rebels have already managed to pass legislation that orders the PM to beg for a Brexit extension from EU if there is no agreement by October 19.

That will be given Royal Assent before prorogation tonight, meaning it is on the statute book.

If – as expected – Mr Johnson loses his latest bid to force an October 15 election this evening, there will be no way of taking the country to the polls before the deadline. 

An election requires the Commons to vote for an election, or pass a no-confidence motion and 14 days to elapse without a new administration being formed.

There must be 25 days between dissolving Parliament for an election, and the actual date. 

However, almost all Tories pointedly stayed seated and then quickly filed out of the chamber during 90 minutes of gushing tributes from his fans. 

Conservatives were scathing behind the scenes. His ‘pompous’ announcement and choice of date sparked ‘laughter’ in No10, while one furious Eurosceptic said: ‘At least the next Speaker can’t be much more biased.’  

Other critics were even less diplomatic, branding Mr Bercow a ‘nauseating w***er’, joking that the ‘witch is dead’ and exchanging smiley face emojis. Nigel Farage said simply: ‘Good riddance.’ 

No10 sources have claimed that Mr Johnson will take revenge by ensuring he is the first Speaker not to go to the Lords when he steps down – although it is not altogether clear how he would wield such a veto. 

Earlier, Mr Johnson insisted he is still determined to get a Brexit deal as he held crunch talks with his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar in Dublin. 

The Prime Minister conceded that No Deal would be a bad outcome for both sides, saying it would amount to a ‘failure of statecraft’ and politicians would be ‘responsible’. 

But he again insisted that the UK would be leaving the EU by October 31 come what may, saying failure to do so would cause ‘permanent damage’ to democracy. 

He told a joint press conference he was ‘undaunted’ by mounting opposition to his stance in Parliament and there had to be a ‘way out’ of the backstop for the UK. 

He also claimed there was the ‘ideal’ amount of time to get an agreement – seemingly setting a new deadline of October 18, the day before Remainer rebel legislation demands a Brexit delay be agreed, to get a package in place.

However, the Irish Taoiseach swiped that the UK has no ‘realistic’ plan for replacing the insurance policy for the Irish border. ‘No backstop is No Deal,’ he warned.

Mr Varadkar said that there was no such thing as a ‘clean break’ Brexit and issues will not end if the PM manages to force the UK out at the end of October.

He said Mr Johnson faced a ‘Herculean’ task to get a comprehensive trade deal, and it would be worse if there was no divorce package. 

In a joint statement issued after their meeting the two leaders said that ‘common ground was established in some areas’ but ‘significant gaps remain’. 

What happens when Parliament prorogues? 

The centuries-old ceremony begins with an announcement read out in both Houses on behalf of the Queen.

It reveals that she has ’caused a Commission under the Great Seal’ to prepare for the suspension.

A Royal Commission consisting of five senior Peers then enter the Chamber and instruct Black Rod to summon the Commons.

When MPs arrive they greet the commission with suitable pomp and ceremony, bowing while the Lords doff their hats.

The Clerk of the Crown then announces from the Opposition side of the table the name of each Act that is to be passed.

As each Act is announced, the Clerk of the Parliament turns to face MPs, declaring ‘La Reyne le veult’ – Norman French for ‘The Queen wishes it.’ 

This ceremony signifies Royal Assent for each Bill. 

Afterwards the Leader of the House reads a speech from the Queen – but written by the government – reviewing the past year.

Parliament is then officially prorogued.

Mr Johnson hunkered down in Chevening, the Foreign Secretary’s country residence, yesterday with his closest aides as they wargamed the days ahead.

The group is understood to have included chief strategist Dominic Cummings.

One plan under consideration to prevent the three month extension is for the Prime Minister to send an additional letter alongside the request to extend Article 50, setting out the government’s position that they don’t want a delay and want to leave on October 31.

A source told The Telegraph: ‘There is a prescribed letter that has to be sent…Does that stop the Prime Minister sending other documents to the EU? I don’t think it does.

‘A political explainer perhaps, as to where the Government’s policy is. It has to make clear that the Government is asking for an extension, but let’s not forget what the next step is.

‘Once that is done, the Europeans are going to ask: ‘Why? What is the reason? [What] if the government said: ‘We don’t have any reasons for an extension.

‘There is a clear path now: the Europeans need to refuse an extension.’ 

Jeremy Corbyn condemned the prorogation as a ‘disgrace’ and made clear he expects to take over in October if Mr Johnson resigns rather than extend Brexit. 

Pressed on whether it would be clear if the Government was following Parliament’s wishes after the next EU summit in mid-October, Mr Corbyn said: ‘That would be the obvious time. 

‘That’s the point at which the British Government will have had to have made its application.’ 

Mr Johnson bunkered down in Chevening, the Foreign Secretary's country residence, yesterday to wargame the Brexit crisis with his closest aides. It is understood to have included chief strategist Dominic Cummings (pictured outside his London home last week)

Mr Johnson bunkered down in Chevening, the Foreign Secretary’s country residence, yesterday to wargame the Brexit crisis with his closest aides. It is understood to have included chief strategist Dominic Cummings (pictured outside his London home last week)

Mr Corbyn added: ‘If this Government can’t govern and resigns then the Opposition takes over on a minority-government basis in order to ensure there is an extension until the end of January. 

How would a legal challenge work? 

The Remainer legislation states that Boris Johnson must ask for a Brexit extension if there is no agreement by October 19. 

If Mr Johnson failed to ask for a Brexit extension at a crunch EU summit on October 17 – as MPs have demanded – it would almost certainly trigger a Supreme Court challenge. 

The fate of Brexit would then be in the hands of judges and experts believe that Mr Johnson would risk a prison sentence if he tried to flaunt the law. 

As Lord Sumption said this morning, judges are ‘not very fond of loopholes’ which means the government could face a hard time convincing them that the PM was correct to defy the legislation. 

 

‘And there’s a general election so people can decide what direction they want this country to go in.’ 

France has already suggested it could veto lengthening the talks, with French Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, telling reporters: ‘We are not going to do this (extend the deadline) every three months.’ 

And yesterday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab indicated that No 10 would not go down without a fight, saying Mr Johnson was ‘sticking to his guns’ to get the country ‘out of this rut’.

His comments raise the prospect of a crunch legal challenge in the Supreme Court in the weeks leading up to October 31.

After declaring last week he would rather ‘die in a ditch’ than delay Brexit any further, he will refuse to ask for an extension at the EU Council on October 17 and 18. That would force MPs to take him to court to try and enforce the law – potentially sparking a major constitutional clash.

Downing Street sources have said they would look to ‘sabotage’ the extension. But when the law was passed by MPs and Mr Johnson’s plans for an early election were blocked by opposition parties there was widespread speculation he could be forced to quit.

Over the weekend, a former director of public prosecutions warned he would be jailed for contempt of court if he refused to comply with the law.

What is happening on Brexit crisis today? 

Now: House of Commons sits for what is expected to be the last time until October 14. 

3.30pm: Application from Remainer rebels for emergency debates.  

4pm: No Deal minister Michael Gove gives evidence to Lords EU scrutiny committee. 

c10pm: MPs vote on fresh bid from the PM to stage an early general election.

Midnight: House is expected to prorogue until after party conferences. 

In a sign of concerns within Cabinet, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC yesterday revealed he had challenged Mr Johnson personally over the issue.

Dismissing speculation he could quit as ‘wide of the mark’, Mr Buckland said he would continue to serve in his Cabinet.

But he revealed he had spoken to Mr Johnson over the weekend ‘regarding the importance of the Rule of Law, which I as Lord Chancellor have taken an oath to uphold’. His comments were seen as a threat to quit if Mr Johnson actively disobeyed the law. Other ministers would be expected to follow him.

Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts said breaking the law should result in his impeachment by Parliament. 

Mr Johnson himself backed such a move against Tony Blair in 2004, but the mechanism is has never been successfully used against a PM.  

Yesterday, Mr Raab insisted ministers would ‘adhere to the law’ but said government lawyers would look ‘very carefully’ at what it requires the Prime Minister to do.

Nigel Farage blasts Boris Johnson saying ‘the Boris bravado has disappeared’ 

In a message to the embattled Prime Minister on GMB today Mr Farage said: 'Let’s work together, let’s get Brexit done'

In a message to the embattled Prime Minister on GMB today Mr Farage said: ‘Let’s work together, let’s get Brexit done’

Nigel Farage mocked Boris Johnson for losing his ‘bravado’ over Brexit today after the Prime Minister said a No Deal departure would be a ‘failure of statecraft’.

The Brexit Party leader hammered the PM after his comments during a visit to Dublin to see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Mr Farage had earlier held out an olive brand to Mr Johnson, saying ‘Let’s work together, let’s get Brexit done.’

But after the PM’s words, he lashed out, saying: ‘The Boris bravado has disappeared in Dublin, saying No Deal would be a ”failure of statecraft”. 

‘He is now going all out for Mrs May’s ‘deal’, with Northern Ireland to be hived off from the rest of the UK. A clean break Brexit is the only way forward.’ 

It raises questions over whether an electoral pact between the two parties could succeed. 

He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: ‘We will adhere to the law but we will also, because this is such a bad piece of legislation – the Surrender Bill that Jeremy Corbyn backed – we will also want to test to the limit what it does actually lawfully require. We will look very carefully, legally, at what it requires and what it doesn’t require. I think that’s not only the lawful thing to do, it’s also the responsible thing to do and again I’ll repeat that legislation is lousy.’

He also, for the first time, acknowledged it might not be possible to resist another extension to Article 50 – but said that under those circumstances the blame would rest with ‘Jeremy Corbyn, the Liberal Democrats and others who are not prepared to respect the referendum’.

In a separate interview, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Mr Johnson would not ask for an extension at the EU Council on October 17 and 18. Describing the Bill as an attempt to ‘kneecap’ Britain’s negotiating position, he said ministers would ‘look at our options’ on October 19.

On that date the law kicks in if no agreement has been reached. It tells the Prime Minister to seek an extension until January 31 and accept any extension the EU agrees.

The Mail understands that No 10 strategists have discussed whether an official could be sent to sign off the extension so Mr Johnson does not have to do it in person.

Labour’s shadow attorney-general Shami Chakrabarti said Mr Raab’s comments were ‘irresponsible and elitist’ and called Mr Johnson a ‘tin pot dictator’.

She told Sky News: ‘The idea that a sitting prime minister in one of the oldest democracies on the planet would say, ‘I will ignore the law’ and he says, ‘Oh no, it’s not ignoring the law, it’s just testing it a little bit’. Is that what we say to our kids, is that what we say to poor working people, vulnerable people in this country?

‘I think [such a] position is irresponsible and elitist, the idea that there is one law for Boris Johnson and his mates and another law for everyone else, it’s appalling.’

The Conservative Party leader will fly to Ireland to meet with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Monday morning but his counterpart poured cold water on suggestions of a breakthrough on the stalemate over a solution to the Irish backstop, the safety net agreed by the European Union and the UK to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland.

What will happen if Boris Johnson refuses to ask for a Brexit delay? And could the Supreme Court send a CIVIL SERVANT to Brussels to ask for an extension?

Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court justice, said today that the PM would struggle to find legal 'loopholes' to avoid complying with an anti-No Deal law

Lord Sumption, a former Supreme Court justice, said today that the PM would struggle to find legal ‘loopholes’ to avoid complying with an anti-No Deal law

Legal experts have dismissed suggestions that Boris Johnson could find a ‘loophole’ to avoid complying with an anti-No Deal law passed by Parliament. 

The law will force the PM to ask the EU for a Brexit delay if no agreement has been struck by the two sides in the run up to Halloween.  

The legislation will require him to send a letter to Brussels asking for the departure date to be pushed back to January 31. 

But Mr Johnson is reportedly considering a plan to send another letter – along with the legally required one – stating that the UK does not actually want an extension. 

However, former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption today suggested such a move would be illegal.  

He said: ‘Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension. To send the letter and then try to neutralise it seems to me, plainly, a breach of the Act.

‘What you’ve got to realise is the courts are not very fond of loopholes.’

Lord Sumption also suggested that if Mr Johnson were to refuse to send the legally required letter the Supreme Court could order a civil servant to sign one and send it on the PM’s behalf.   

Whether or not there is a way for the government to ignore the anti-No Deal law is one of many key questions circulating in Westminster today. Here are the answers to the main talking points: 

What will happen today? 

Mr Johnson will ask MPs to vote for an early general election. The vote will take place this evening and the PM is expected to see his wish thwarted for the second time after his initial attempt was defeated last week. 

The government will then suspend parliament – sending MPs home for five weeks until October 14. 

How does prorogation actually work? 

Downing Street said this morning that it will prorogue Parliament regardless of whether MPs vote for an early election. 

When a minister moves the motion the intention to suspend is then announced on behalf of the Queen in the House of Lords. 

MPs are summoned to attend the Lords chamber to hear the announcement before then returning to the Commons to hear John Bercow read out the same announcement.  

The prorogation statement will set out which Bills have been given Royal Assent – a final piece of housekeeping before everyone is sent home. 

Parliament will return on October 14. 

Boris Johnson, pictured in Dublin this morning, has said he will not ask for a Brexit delay in any circumstances

Boris Johnson, pictured in Dublin this morning, has said he will not ask for a Brexit delay in any circumstances

Will there be an election before Halloween?

The PM wants there to be a snap poll on October 15 but opposition leaders have said they will not back an election being held until a Brexit delay has been agreed with Brussels. 

That’s a major problem for Mr Johnson because under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act he needs the support of two thirds of the House of Commons in order to dissolve Parliament for an election. 

When he tried to force an election last week he won the vote but fell far short of the magic number of 434 MPs he needed. 

Opposition MPs are again expected to abstain or vote against the government this evening which means the chances of an election before the current Brexit deadline are slim.  

Assuming Mr Johnson does proceed with proroguing Parliament tonight, MPs will not return to Westminster until October 14 – by that point it will be too late to go to the polls before October 31.  

Is there another way for the government to force an election?

Yes. If the government loses tonight’s vote it could theoretically hold off on suspending Parliament and bring forward a piece of legislation for MPs to vote on either

The aim of that legislation would be to skirt around the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Essentially it would propose a date for an election and MPs would be asked to vote for it.

A simple majority would be needed for it to pass, rather than the two-thirds required by a motion tabled under the FTPA.

However, such a course of action would be risky for the government because MPs could amend the legislation, potentially to change the date until after October 31.

The government does not have a majority in the Commons. But there is a majority against No Deal. That means the government is likely to fail in its bid for an early election regardless of the mechanism it chooses.

Meanwhile, Downing Street said this morning that prorogation will take place even if it loses the election vote, ruling out trying again using a different mechanism. 

Is the government still trying to get a deal by October 31?

Yes. But there is a major row over just how hard Downing Street is pushing for a deal. 

Amber Rudd, who quit the government on Saturday night, said yesterday that she believed 90 per cent of Whitehall’s Brexit efforts were now focused on preparing for a No Deal divorce. 

But Number 10 is insistent that its primary goal remains Britain leaving with a deal.  

Amber Rudd, pictured arriving at the BBC yesterday, stunned Westminster on Saturday night as she quit the government and surrendered the Tory whip

Amber Rudd, pictured arriving at the BBC yesterday, stunned Westminster on Saturday night as she quit the government and surrendered the Tory whip

However, talks with the EU remain locked in a state of stalemate with the main stumbling block being the Irish border backstop. 

Mr Johnson said he will not sign up to any Brexit deal that contains the protocol and the EU has said it is open to listening to the UK’s proposed alternatives to the insurance policy. 

But Mr Johnson is yet to set out in public any concrete plans for how the backstop could be deleted. 

Meanwhile, today it was claimed that the size of the UK’s negotiating team had been slashed which is unlikely to boost hopes of a deal being done. Downing Street has denied the claim. 

Many in the government believe that Brussels will only budge at the eleventh hour which could make for a high stakes game of brinkmanship as the Brexit deadline approaches. 

If the EU and UK cannot agree a deal before October 31, could they agree one after that?

Assuming they do agree an extension and there is then an election, potentially. 

A new prime minister, or the current one, with a big majority would open up new possibilities in the talks with Brussels and could pave the way for a deal being done. 

Does Amber Rudd’s resignation matter and will other ministers quit? 

It matters in the sense that it sent a powerful message to Mr Johnson over the direction of the government and the Conservative Party. 

But it is unlikely to have lasting repercussions – after all, she becomes the 22nd Tory MP to leave the government benches in the space of a week. 

Ms Rudd’s opposition to No Deal was well known which is why her decision to join Mr Johnson’s Cabinet when he took office raised so many eyebrows. 

There are a handful of other ministers who are similarly concerned about the prospect of a chaotic split and could quit. They include Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith and Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan.  

Can the Prime Minister ignore the anti-No Deal law? 

MPs and peers last week successfully passed a piece of legislation which will force the PM to ask the EU for a Brexit delay if the two sides have not struck an agreement in the run up to October 31. 

That legislation is expected to make it onto the statute book and receive Royal Assent today. 

Once that happens there will be a legal requirement on PM to try to push back the Brexit date if a bad break from Brussels is looking likely. 

Downing Street remains adamant that Mr Johnson will not ask for an extension but ignoring that requirement would trigger a constitutional, political and legal firestorm. 

If Mr Johnson failed to ask for a Brexit extension at a crunch EU summit on October 17 – as MPs have demanded – it would almost certainly trigger a Supreme Court challenge. 

The fate of Brexit would then be in the hands of judges and experts believe that Mr Johnson would risk a prison sentence if he tried to flaunt the law. 

As Lord Sumption said this morning, judges are ‘not very fond of loopholes’ which means the government could face a hard time convincing them that the PM was correct to defy the legislation. 

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured leaving his London home this morning, will tell his MPs to abstain at tonight's vote on an early general election

Jeremy Corbyn, pictured leaving his London home this morning, will tell his MPs to abstain at tonight’s vote on an early general election

So when will there be a general election?  

One thing that almost everyone in Westminster agrees with is that an election will take place before Christmas. 

It is hard to see how long Parliament could continue to function given the fact that Mr Johnson can no longer command a majority in the Commons after expelling 21 Tory rebels for backing the bid to block No Deal. 

Minority governments are by their very nature unstable and add to that the fact that a number of parties are keen for an election – most notably the Lib Dems and SNP – and a snap poll appears inevitable. 

Labour also says publicly that it wants an election which means it is just a matter of timing. 

Jeremy Corbyn said he would back an election once No Deal has been taken off the table. 

Assuming that happens towards the end of October, an election could then be held in November. 

Will the EU agree to delay Brexit again? 

Brussels has long maintained that it is open to pushing back the UK’s departure date but only if it is for a very good reason: A general election or second referendum. 

The EU does not want the Brexit stalemate to continue indefinitely and a major democratic event is viewed as potentially the only way to get things moving.  

However, the EU will not want to be blamed for a No Deal Brexit – particularly the damage that it could do to the Irish economy – which means when it comes to the crunch the bloc is expected to offer a delay, regardless of the situation. 

But nothing is guaranteed.  

 

 

 

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