Boris Johnson sends 'photocopied' and 'unsigned' letter to EU leaders with separate plea to reject extension

Posted On: 
20th October 2019

Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned photocopy of a letter requesting a fresh Brexit delay while simultaneously requesting that EU leaders reject the plans.

 
Boris Johnson has requested an extension from EU leaders
Credit: 
PA

The Prime Minister sent, but refused to sign, a letter calling for a new Brexit delay, instead telling EU leaders the request had come from parliament as he urged them to reject the "deeply corrosive" plans.

Mr Johnson was legally bound to send the appeal after MPs backed an amendment to his new Brexit plans calling for a delay until January 2020 to be requested before any vote on the deal.

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But in a move that has infuriated opposition MPs, the Prime Minister sent a "photocopied" draft of the letter with a cover note from Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's representative in Brussels, explaining the request had been made only to comply with an order from Parliament.

Meanwhile, a separate note signed by the Prime Minister urged EU leaders to dismiss the request, saying it would "damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners”.

"While it is open to the European Council to accede to the request mandated by Parliament or to offer an alternative extension period, I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister... that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us," he wrote.

"We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundations of our long history as neighbours and friends in this continent our people's share."

EU ambassadors are set to meet on Sunday to discuss the letter, but it is widely believe that the bloc will hold off on responding in order to allow Parliament to press ahead with another vote on the deal.

And in a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron hit out at Parliament for failing to take a decisive vote on the deal during its so-called 'Super Saturday' sitting.

"A further delay is not in anyone's interest," the statement said. "A deal has been approved and it is now up to the British parliament to say if it approves or rejects it. There should be a vote on the substance on it."

"BLUSTER"

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit back at Mr Johnson's letter gambit, saying it was "petulant posturing and bluster" after his "damaging deal" had been defeated by MPs.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister reached out to MPs and Peers saying he planned to push ahead with a fresh vote on his new-look deal early next week as he vowed not to negotiate any new delay with the bloc.

"I have made clear that I do not want more delay," he wrote. "European leaders have made clear they do not want more delay. It is to my great regret that today the House has voted for more delay.

"I will not negotiate a delay with the European Union. I will tell the EU what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.

"That is why next week this Government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the European Union with our great new deal on 31 October."

He added: "It is quite possible that our friends in the European Union will reject Parliament's request for further delay (or not take a decision quickly). 

"In these circumstances, I hope colleagues on all sides of the House will - faced with a choice of our new deal or no deal - support this new deal."