LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he’ll refuse to locate a extend to Brexit, raising fears he could presumably perchance try to exploit a loophole to avoid legislation geared toward stopping the nation leaving the European Union without a deal.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen in Downing Motorway in London, Britain September 25, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Johnson has made what appears to be two contradictory statements: he’ll obey the law, but will now not build a query to an extension to Britain’s scheduled Oct. 31 exit.

Junior Brexit minister James Duddridge used to be over and over requested by lawmakers in parliament on Thursday how the high minister could presumably perchance produce both. He said the authorities’s “Opinion A” used to be to salvage spherical the law by agreeing a Brexit deal.

Below the so-called Benn Act if, by Oct. 19, the authorities has now not got parliamentary approval for a divorce tackle Brussels or for leaving the EU without a deal, Johnson need to construct a query to a extend till Jan. 31, 2020. The act even provides a text of the letter he need to ship.

So how could presumably perchance Johnson steer obvious of a Brexit extend?


Jolyon Maugham, a felony respectable who’s section of the lawful team which defeated the authorities over its resolution to suspend parliament, said a weak point of the law is that if a divorce deal is permitted by parliament on, or forward of, Oct. 19, the obligation to put a query to an extension will stop.

On the opposite hand, Maugham says further preconditions need to be met forward of the divorce deal will likely be ratified and no-deal refrained from. In particular, a separate law enforcing the withdrawal agreement wants to be permitted by parliament by Oct. 31.

He said there will likely be a scenario where lawmakers run the divorce deal on or forward of Oct. 19, and therefore Johnson is now not required to jot down the letter, but then the next legislation gets blocked in parliament and Britain leaves without a deal.


The British authorities could presumably perchance observe the letter of the law but now not the spirit of it, by asking for an extension but looking out out for to salvage the EU to reject it.

    It could possibly even produce this in reasonably about a systems:

    a) Ship a 2d letter – The law items out the wording of the letter the high minister has to ship to Brussels to put a query to the extend. British media get reported he used to be pondering sending a 2d letter making obvious the authorities doesn’t in actual fact desire a extend. Correct kind experts get said any 2d letter is probably going to be regarded as unlawful alternatively.

    b) Veto the extension – Any extension need to be agreed by all EU member states. Some lawmakers get suggested Britain could presumably perchance locate to veto its non-public extension build a query to. Or persuade a nation friendly to Britain, delight in Hungary, to veto it.

    c) Threaten sabotage – The Day to day Telegraph newspaper quoted a offer in Johnson’s bid of work asserting Britain would compose obvious it would sabotage any build a query to for extend after which the extend itself. Britain could presumably perchance reason havoc to EU industrial at some stage in the extend, as an instance by vetoing key choices.

    “Once contributors label our plans, there is a legitimate likelihood we won’t be supplied a extend,” the availability used to be quoted as asserting.


Whereas the Benn Act requires Johnson to locate an extension to Brexit if parliament has now not permitted either a deal or leaving without a deal by Oct. 19, a specific law, the European Union Withdrawal Act, states Britain will run away the EU on Oct. 31.

It is now not obvious which of these felony pointers takes precedence.

Professional-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Bill Money pointed to this in parliament on Thursday asserting: “There could be an apparent inconsistency between that (Benn) Act and the Withdrawal Act … the reality is compliance is now not correct a easy build a query to. It is a subject of grave significance by which law is the law of the land.”

The authorities has over and over said easiest that this would presumably perchance observe “the law”, without specifying which one. It could possibly even try to argue that it is following the law by taking Britain out on Oct. 31.


Broken-down Conservative chief Iain Duncan Smith has urged Johnson to ignore the law and said he could presumably perchance presumably be a Brexit “martyr”.

If this came about, Johnson could presumably perchance very neatly be learned in contempt of court docket and risks being jailed.

Anti-Brexit campaigners get filed a lawful arena in Scotland so that you just can compel Johnson to locate an extension to membership of the EU.

The case is being fronted by Maugham, who said this week the case could presumably perchance discontinue up forward of the Supreme Court in mid-October. Maugham said that if Johnson refuses to locate an extension they would search files from the court docket to compose the extension application on the high minister’s behalf.


It is probably the authorities could presumably perchance get identified but any other unknown loophole. Questioned about the extend law in parliament on Thursday, Junior Brexit minister James Duddridge said it used to be “now not good”.

He particularly cited an modification to the law, build forward by opposition Labour lawmaker Stephen Kinnock, which items out that a extend need to be liable to debate and approve a Brexit deal basically based largely on the agreement reached by Johnson’s predecessor Theresa Would possibly possibly well moreover impartial.

“The Kinnock modification that used to be handed, the authorities believes does get deficiencies and its discontinuance is unclear,” he said.

Asked whether or now not he belief the law requires the high minister to jot down a letter asking for an extension, he said “The authorities will lift lawful advice on this.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Kylie MacLellan; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan