Johnson apologises for breaking Brexit promise
Boris Johnson has apologised to the Tory members who elected him leader for failing on his “do-or-die” promise to implement Brexit by Halloween.
The prime minister said he feels “deep regret” over missing the former deadline, which he was compelled to extend to the end of January.
With the EU departure the overwhelming focal point of the election campaign, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage ruled out making an eighth bid to become an MP in the December 12 vote.
Meanwhile, the main political parties clashed over policies on the climate crisis, the welfare state and the EU.
In an interview with Sky’s Ridge on Sunday, Mr Johnson was told he needed to take responsibility for missing the Brexit deadline and could not just blame other people.
“Well, I do. I do and I’m deeply, deeply disappointed,” he replied.
Pushed on whether he would apologise to Tory members who supported him, Mr Johnson replied: “Of course, of course.”
Whether the Brexit Party succeeds in getting any MPs elected or not, Tories fear the party could play a major role in splitting the Leave vote.
The Tories have rejected his offer of an electoral pact and yesterday Mr Farage continued with his threat to stand candidates in around 600 seats.
But he ruled out standing himself, telling the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “Do I find a seat to try get myself into Parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates? And I’ve decided the latter course is the right one.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has ruled out granting permission for a second Scottish independence vote while he is prime minister – despite Nicola Sturgeon insisting “things have changed” since the country voted to stay part of the UK five years ago.
Mr Johnson insisted there was no reason to go back on assurances given by SNP leaders in 2014 that the referendum then was a “once-in-a-generation” event.
Mr Johnson spoke out after the SNP leader urged Scots to use the election to “demand the right to choose a better future”.
Ms Sturgeon told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Our future is on the line and it’s a choice of what kind of future we want.”
Meanwhile, shadow cabinet member Rebecca Long-Bailey made clear that Labour would not block a second referendum if the Scottish Government was to push for one after the 2021 Holyrood election.
Scottish Liberal Democat leader Willie Rennie said this shows Labour “could not be trusted to preserve the Union”.