Thu, 28 September 2023

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Press releases

Boris Johnson: I would rather be dead in a ditch than ask for an extension to Brexit

3 min read

Boris Johnson has said he would "rather be dead in a ditch" than ask the EU for a Brexit extension.

The Prime Minister said a further delay to the 31 October deadline was "pointless", and there is no way he would do it.

His comments come despite MPs passing a bill which would compel him to request a three-month extension if Parliament has not passed a deal by 19 October.

Mr Johnson made the extraordinary comment during a bizarre appearance at a police training centre in Wakefield, west Yorkshire.

At one point he tried and failed to recite a police caution, before a female officer standing behind him appeared to pass out because she had been left standing for so long waiting for his heavily-delayed speech.

He also directly addressed the shock resignation as a minister and MP by his brother Jo over the pair's Brexit differences, saying: "Jo doesn't agree with me about the European Union because it's an issue that divides divides families and divides everybody."

Asked whether he would rule out requesting a further Brexit delay, Mr Johnson said: "Yes. I'd rather be dead in a ditch. It's costs a billion a month, it achieves absolutely nothing, what would be the point of a further delay? It would be absolutely pointless."

The PM also repeated his calls for a general election, just 24 hours after MPs rejected his initial attempts to stage a snap poll on 15 October.

MPs will be made to vote again on the same demand on Monday night, and Mr Johnson said it was wrong for Labour to block it.

He said: "I want to give the country a choice. We either go forward with my plan to get a deal, take the country out on 31 October, which we can, or else somebody should be allowed to see if they can keep us in after 31 October.

"If people really think that this country should stay in the European Union after 31 October, then that really should be something for the people of this country to decide."

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson was accused of "an abuse of power" by Labour MP Yvette Cooper for making police officers wait outside for an hour so they could flank him while he was making his speech.

Referring to a video of the police officer fainting behind the PM, the MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford tweeted: "This is an abuse of power by Boris Johnson, making so many police stop their training and work to be part of his political stunt.

"They have a job to do here in West Yorks, and they train and work hard for the whole community - completely unacceptable to use them in this way."



PoliticsHome Newsletters

PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe


Political parties