On Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would not request an extension to Brexit, hours after a law came into force demanding that he delay Britain’s departure from the European Union until 2020 unless he can strike a divorce deal.
For the second time in a week, lawmakers then rejected Johnson’s request to try to break the deadlock through an early national election.
With the future of Brexit mired in uncertainty, parliament was suspended until Oct. 14, sparking tense scenes in the House of Commons where opposition lawmakers held signs reading “silenced” and yelled “shame on you” at Johnson’s ruling Conservatives.
EU leaders have repeatedly said they have not received specific proposals ahead of an EU summit on Oct. 17 and 18, at which Johnson says he hopes he can secure a deal.
“This government will press on with negotiating a deal while preparing to leave without one,” Johnson told parliament after the result of the vote on an early election.
“I will go to that crucial summit on October the 17th and no matter how many devices this parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest ... This government will not delay Brexit any further.”
Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said the party was eager for an election, but would not support Johnson’s move to hold one until it was certain a delay to Brexit had been secured.
“As keen as we are, we are not prepared to risk inflicting the disaster of no-deal on our communities,” Corbyn said.
Responding to concerns the government could ignore the legislation, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab earlier told parliament that the government would respect the rule of law but added, “Sometimes it can be more complex because there are conflicting laws or competing legal advice.”
“I want to find a deal, I want to get a deal,” Johnson said in Dublin, adding that there was plenty of time to find one before the October EU summit.