Boris Johnson says he won't ask the EU for a further Brexit delay after vote loss

19 October 2019, 15:22

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson told MPs he would not negotiate a further Brexit delay with the EU following a defeat in Parliament, he said that the law did not compel him to.

MPs voted to approve the Letwin Amendment which means approval of the Prime Minister's Brexit deal with Brussels will be withheld by the British Parliament until the legislation to enact it was 'safely passed'.

MPs voted 322 to 306 to approve the amendment, in another Commons loss for the Prime Minister.

Mr Johnson addressed assembled MPs following the defeat, he said: "It has been a very important debate, an exceptional moment for our country, an exceptional moment for our Parliament.

"Alas, the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has effectively been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning.

Boris Johnson after the defeat in Parliament
Boris Johnson after the defeat in Parliament. Picture: Parliament

The Prime Minister said he was not "daunted or dismayed" by the result of the vote.

"I continue in the very strong belief that the best thing for the UK, and for the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31, and to anticipate the questions that are coming from the benches opposite, I will not negotiate a delay with the EU."

However, the House of Commons Twitter account said that the Government now "must ask for an extension of Article 50 under the Benn Act and set out how it intends to proceed".

Mr Johnson was firm and said he would not negotiate a delay with the EU and "neither does the law compel me to do so."

The Prime Minister said that further delay would be "bad for this country, bad for our EU and bad for democracy."

He said the Government will introduce the legislation next week to allow the UK to leave the EU with his deal on October the 31st.

The Conservative Party tweeted that the Prime Minister would not ask the EU for a delay.

Mr Johnson added: "I hope that our EU colleagues and friends will not be attracted as the benches opposite are, or rather I should say the front bench, by delay."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn hit out at the Prime Minister's comments, suggesting Mr Johnson would be required to apply for an extension.

Mr Corbyn said: “I invite him to think very carefully about the remarks he just made about refusing, apparently, to apply for the extension which the EU no.2 Act requires him to do.”

Watch the whole of Boris Johnson's speech in the video at the top of the page.