Beleaguered UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pressing ahead with his hard-line plan to leave the European Union (EU) “do or die” by October 31. His spokesman announced Parliament will be suspended at the end of Monday’s business, sparking anger from opposition politicians.
Johnson plans to switch focus to the domestic agenda after the suspension of Parliament as he seeks to build support for the expected general election, according to a person familiar with the matter. The campaign will have a similar style to Johnson’s messaging during the summer, the person said. While Parliament wasn’t sitting, Johnson regularly announced new funding and policy promises for his campaign priorities of crime, health and schools. Government lawyers are exploring ways for the prime minister to get around the law, passed last week, that requires him to delay Brexit if he hasn’t got a deal.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will apply for a debate to ensure the law barring a no-deal Brexit is respected by the prime minister after Johnson’s insistence he will not extend negotiations with the EU.
The other application is being made by former Conservative Dominic Grieve. He wants the government to publish its assessment of no-deal preparedness.
Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar established some common ground on Brexit on Monday when they met for the first time, but significant gaps remain, after the British and Irish governments said. Johnson has been criticised for not producing new plans to break the Brexit impasse, and Varadkar also said that Britain has not produced any realistic alternatives to the controversial “backstop” agreement.