LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will again try to put his Brexit deal to a vote in parliament on Monday after being forced by his opponents to send a letter requesting a delay from the European Union.
FILE PHOTO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Speaks to the House of Commons as Parliament discusses Brexit, sitting on Saturday for the first time since the Falkland War in 1982, in London, United Kingdom, October 19, 2019, in this screen taken from video. Parliamentary TV via REUTERS
With only 10 days left until the UK leaves the EU on October 31, the divorce is back in disarray as Britain's political class is arguing whether to leave an agreement, go out of business or have a deal. a friend of the referendum.
Johnson was ambushed by opponents in parliament on Saturday seeking a change in the sequence of ratification of the deal, exposing the prime minister to a law that required him to request a delay until January 31st.
In a twist that illustrates the extent to which Brexit has strained the standards of British warships, Johnson sends the note to the EU without signature – and adds another signed letter, arguing against what he cast as a deeply corrosive delay.
"Further enlargement would harm the interests of the United Kingdom and our EU partners and relations between us," Johnson says of his own letter signed to Boris Johnson.
The British government insisted on Sunday that the country leave the EU on October 31 and plans to put the deal to a vote in parliament later on Monday, although it is unclear whether the chairman of the House of Commons will allow such a vote.
The government proposed a debate on the deal, according to an order document from the House of Commons, which said that the speaker would make a statement on the procedure shortly after Parliament opened at 1330 GMT.
It is thought that speaker John Berkov is unlikely to admit it on the grounds that it will repeat the debate on Saturday, but he has not yet made his official decision.
The sterling, which has rallied more than 6% since October 10, slid from its five-month highs on Monday. It reached just $ 1.2850 in Asian trading before settling around 1.2920 GBP = D3 in London, a drop of 0.5% on the day.
Goldman Sachs raised the likelihood of the UK leaving a ratified deal up to 70% from 65%, reduced its view of a Brexit "no deal" chance to 5% from 10% and left it unchanged at 25%.
The EU, which has been struggling with the troubling Brexit crisis since the British voted 52% -48% to leave for a referendum in 2016, was clearly disturbed by controversial signals from London.
With Brexit on the air, the ambassadors of the bloc decided on Sunday to play for time, not to rush to make a decision at Johnson's request.
From an EU perspective, extension options range from just an additional month to the end of November to half a year or more.
"We are looking for more clarity towards the end of the week, hoping that by then we will see how things are going in London," said a senior EU diplomat.
It is unlikely that the other 27 EU Member States will refuse the UK request to delay its departure again, given the impact on all Brexit countries without a deal.
In London, Johnson's ministers said they were convinced they had the numbers to push through a deal through parliament, where opponents were planning to deactivate a deal he assured the EU he could ratify.
The opposition Labor Party is planning changes to the deal that would make the swing of Johnson's own party unacceptable, including proposals for another referendum.
Former Allies of Johnson, Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have indicated they can support a Customs Union proposal with the EU – a move that, if approved, would doom Johnson's deal, Daily Telegraph reports.
"Stupid or humble Members of Parliament are constantly moving targets to targets and taking deadline compression," said Brexit hardline Steve Baker.
If Johnson's deal is broken just days before the UK's planned departure, it will leave Johnson with a choice: leave the deal or accept a delay.
Written by Guy Folconbridge; Editing by Toby Chopra and Angus Maxwell