British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has not signed the letter asking the EU to delay Brexit and sent another saying he does not want to postpone, a source in his office said Saturday. Johnson was required by law to send the delay request after MPs refused to back his Brexit deal on Saturday, but has insisted Britain must leave the European Union on October 31 as planned.
On Saturday, Boris Johnson vowed to stick to an October 31 Brexit deadline, despite MPs winning more time to study a divorce deal he struck with Brussels. He told Parliament the "meaningful vote" on his divorce agreement with the European Union "has been voided of meaning" but added: "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so."
The Downing Street source said Johnson had sent a photocopy of the letter contained in the law that requires him to ask for the delay if there is no Brexit deal, but didn’t sign it.
The prime minister has however signed another letter, which makes clear he does not want to delay Brexit beyond the end of this month.
A third letter written by British EU ambassador Tim Barrow explains that the Brexit delay letter is only being sent to comply with the law.
In Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk confirmed the extension request had arrived but an EU source declined to comment on the details.
“The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react,” Tusk tweeted.
Earlier, Johnson said he would tell EU leaders that “further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy”.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” he told the House of Commons.