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08.09.2019 Europe

France says no to further delay on Brexit

Andrew Milligan/Pool via REUTERS
LISTEN SEP 8, 2019
Andrew Milligan/Pool via REUTERS

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has rejected any further delay to Britain's exit from the EU, currently scheduled for 31 October but clouded by political turmoil in London.

"In the current circumstances, it's no! We are not going to go through this every three months," Le Drian said Sunday on French TV, Le Grand Rendez-vous Europe1/CNEWS/Les Echos.

British Prime minister Boris Johnson has been adamant that he will not seek a third Brexit delay this year.

Last week he said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than seek the Brexit extension until January backed by more moderate forces.

Instead, he is seeking to hold an early general election on 15 October that could give him a mandate to take Britain out on time and at any cost.

But the strategy of the main opposition Labour Party, along with smaller parliamentary groups, could leave Johnson with no other alternative but to seek an extension to the Brexit talks or resign.

On Monday they are expected to push through legislation forcing Johnson to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if he fails to secure approval from parliament on an exit agreement by 19 October.

They are also trying to make sure that a general election is held only after Johnson is forced to go back on his word and push Brexit back again.

Johnson has branded the delay bill a "surrender" that would allow the other 27 EU leaders to dictate the terms on which Britain leaves its closest neighbours after 46 years.

Senior minister resigns
Johnson received a fresh blow Saturday when senior minister Amber Rudd quit her work and pensions post in protest at his handling of the Brexit crisis.

Rudd, a moderate member of former prime minister Theresa May's government, said Saturday that she could no longer endorse Johnson's approach to negotiations with Brussels - or his handling of domestic politics.

"I have resigned from Cabinet and surrendered the Conservative Whip," Rudd tweeted.

"I cannot stand by as good, loyal moderate Conservatives are expelled," she said referring to Johnson's decision to expel 21 MPs from the Conservative party for voting against the government on Brexit.

In her resignation letter she wrote she felt uneasy about Johnson's commitment to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October even if the two sides fail to reach a negotiated deal.

"The government is expending a lot of energy to prepare for 'no deal' but I have not seen the same level of intensity go into our talks with the European Union."

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday she said there were no “formal negotiations” taking place with the EU, just “conversations”.

Both Labour leaders and rebel Conservatives praised Rudd's decision to walk away from Johnson.

"Everyone has a point beyond which they cannot be pushed," centrist Conservative MP Nick Boles tweeted.

Labour's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer it showed the government was “falling apart”.

(with AFP)

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