Boris Johnson "absolutely" sorry for failing to leave the EU by 31 October

3 November 2019, 10:57

Boris Johnson promised he would get Brexit done by Halloween
Boris Johnson promised he would get Brexit done by Halloween. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The prime minister said he felt "deep, deep regret" about not meeting his "do or die" Brexit deadline and would apologise to Conservative Party members for his shortcoming.

Boris Johnson expressed his disappointment for failing to deliver Brexit by 31 October and when asked if he was sorry he responded, saying: "Yes absolutely."

He was also pressed on whether he would apologise to Conservative members who voted for him on the premise that he would have taken the UK out of the EU by Halloween.

"Of course, of course. It was a matter of deep regret," he replied.

"But what we need to do now is get on and do it and the difference between this government and any other party is only this government offers a deal that is ready to go and a way of delivering it immediately in the middle of December, if we're lucky enough to get a majority."

He also blamed Parliament for "refusing" to implement his Withdrawal Agreement Bill and could see "no reason whatsoever" for extending the Brexit transition period beyond its current deadline of December 2020.

"We got Parliament to say it was a good deal, but then they refused to implement it," he added.

"Actually, there was bags of time between that vote to when they first said it was a good deal and when they could have got us out on 31 October."

The Tory leader said a general election was necessary so the country could begin negotiating "not just with the EU but with countries around the world."

"It’s so painful to have these extensions, it’s not because of, you know, my promises or my ego or whatever, it’s because the uncertainty that it means for the whole country," he said.

"Businesses can’t plan, families can’t plan, people just don’t know when Brexit is going to be done and that’s why I think that the offer from the Labour Party is so crazy and so debilitating because what they’re saying is have another referendum and keep the whole thing going."

Speaking with Sky News' Sophy Ridge he also told the programme that he "did not want" a second Scottish independence referendum.

He said: "I think having another referendum, I don't think people in this country think referendums are very wonderful for harmony."

Mr Johnson added that people were told in 2014 the vote would be a "once-in-a-generation event" and he would not "go back on that assurance."

On the issue of President Donald Trump's comments to LBC that the UK would not be able to forge trade deals with the USA, Mr Johnson said Mr Trump was "patently in error."