Up­per house OKs Brexit bill in a blow to PM

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global -

Lon­don: Bri­tain’s up­per house on Fri­day gave fi­nal ap­proval to a law that would force Boris John­son to de­lay Brexit, in a fresh set­back for the British PM who is strug­gling in his bid to call an early elec­tion. The draft, which now re­quires for­mal as­sent by Queen El­iz­a­beth II to be­come law, would seek to post­pone Brexit be­yond the cur­rent dead­line of Oc­to­ber 31 if John­son does not man­age to strike a di­vorce agree­ment with the EU next month.

John­son, who has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for a de­lay, wants an early gen­eral elec­tion that could give him a man­date to take Bri­tain out of the Euro­pean Union with or with­out a di­vorce deal. John­son re­ceived a boost when the high court in Lon­don re­jected a le­gal

BULLISH BORIS: chal­lenge against his de­ci­sion to sus­pend par­lia­ment from next week. But it granted per­mis­sion for the case to go to the Supreme Court for an ap­peal sched­uled for Septem­ber 17.

“My le­gal team and I will not give up the fight for democ­racy,” pro-EU cam­paigner Gina Miller told re­porters.

John­son’s op­po­nents are now widely ex­pected to block for the se­cond time on Mon­day his at­tempt to sched­ule snap polls for Oc­to­ber 15. “Never in his­tory has there been an op­po­si­tion party that has been given a chance to have an elec­tion and has turned it down,” John­son said in Scot­land. “I think that they are mak­ing an ex­tra­or­di­nary po­lit­i­cal mis­take.” John­son has been adamant that he will not seek a third Brexit de­lay this year.

The main op­po­si­tion Labour Party is plan­ning a strat­egy with smaller groups that could leave John­son with no other al­ter­na­tive but to re­sign. They are re­port­edly try­ing to make sure that an elec­tion is held only af­ter John­son is forced to go back on his word and seek a di­vorce de­lay. This would hap­pen if no new agree­ment is reached when John­son at­tends an Oc­to­ber 17-18 EU lead­ers’ sum­mit in Brus­sels. None is ex­pected.

Fin­nish PM Antti Rinne — whose Nordic coun­try holds the ro­tat­ing EU pres­i­dency — said a chaotic “no-deal Brexit” seemed un­avoid­able. “I hope that we can reach a sit­u­a­tion where this can be solved so that there is no mess, but it seems not pos­si­ble now,” Rinne said in Helsinki.

“We don’t know what's hap­pen­ing there. It seems very ob­vi­ous that we are not get­ting Brexit with an agree­ment.” John­son dis­agreed. “I don’t think we’ll get a no-deal Brexit,” he said in Scot­land. “I am very con­fi­dent I will get an agree­ment at the sum­mit on Oc­to­ber 17.”

AFP

Bri­tain’s PM Boris John­son with a bull dur­ing a visit to a farm in Scot­land

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