Gove Says EU Granting Extension Not a Sure Thing: Brexit Update

Andrew Atkinson
Gove Says EU Granting Extension Not a Sure Thing: Brexit Update

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Parliament voted Saturday for Boris Johnson to request a further delay to Brexit. The prime minister will introduce the legislation needed this week for the U.K. to leave the European Union on Oct. 31. The parliamentary rejection on Saturday increases the risk that the U.K. will crash out of the trading bloc without an agreement, a senior cabinet minister said.

Key Developments

Johnson sends letter to Brussels formally asking the European Union to delay Brexit until Jan. 31, as stipulated by law, but made it clear he’d rather there was no extensionMove came after MPs voted by 322 to 306 for Letwin amendment forcing government to request Brexit delayEuropean Council President Donald Tusk to consult EU leaders on how to reactJohnson could yet deliver on pledge to get Britain out of the EU by the end of the month, an analysis of Saturday’s vote reveals.

Johnson Has Support to Pass Brexit Deal (9:45 a.m.)

Michael Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no-deal Brexit preparations, said Johnson has the support to win a vote on the Brexit deal he negotiated with the EU but the government was making preparation in case the U.K. crashes out without a deal. Should Parliament reject the Johnson deal in a vote expected this week there might not be any extension to the Oct. 31 deadline, Gove said on Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday.”

“If we don’t back this deal, then the risk is that the European Council may not grant an extension,” he said. “We can’t bet on that. It’s not a sure thing.”

The government is relying on lawmakers such as Amber Rudd, a former cabinet minister, who backed the Letwin amendment but says she will support the deal this week. “We do want to leave with a deal and this deal from the prime minister is good enough for me,” she said.

Rudd, who walked out of the government and quit the Tory whip in protest at the expulsion of 21 colleagues, said she expected many of that group would also back the deal.

Why the Delay, Foreign Secretary Asks? (9:44 a.m.)

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the numbers appear to exist in Parliament to get the deal passed, so the question is “why aren’t we getting on with it?’’

“The whole economy will get a boost, the rancor will come out of the debate,’’ he told the Andrew Marr show on BBC TV.

Labour Pushing for Second Referendum (9:33 a.m.)

Keir Starmer, Brexit spokesman for the the Labour opposition, said any deal needs to be subject to a second referendum with an option to remain in the EU. “We’ll have to see tactically how we get there,” he told BBC TV’s “Andrew Marr Show” Sunday.

Labour will table amendments to the Brexit bill covering issues such as the environment and workers’ rights, and it was inevitable that a second-referendum amendment would emerge, probably from the beckbenches, he said.

EU Ambassadors Fail to Discuss Delay Request (9:08 a.m.)

EU ambassadors meeting in Brussels Sunday morning did not discuss Johnson’s Brexit delay request. The meeting had been scheduled to work out the EU approval process once Parliament had signed off on the deal, which it failed to do on Saturday.

Former BOE Governor Dismisses Economic Forecasts (9 a.m.)

Former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King expressed his frustration that Brexit remains unresolved, saying the feeling among the British public is “just do it.” Brexit, he said, has provoked a political and constitutional crisis, but leaving the EU is unlikely to have a “major” impact of the British economy longer term either way, he said in a Sky interview shown Sunday.

“It’s a mistake to try and map out a particular deal into precise numbers,” he said of forecasts that Britain will be significantly worse off outside the EU. “A lot of bogus quantification has gone on to try to justify positions.”

Farage Prefers General Election to “Rotten Deal” (8:50 a.m.)

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said he’d rather Brexit was extended and a general election held than see Johnson’s “rotten deal” being passed in Parliament.

“An extension for a few weeks into which we can have a general election is a much better outcome than signing up to a treaty that becomes part of international law that binds us in foreign policy and in many, many other areas,” he told Sophy Ridge.

Is Johnson in Contempt of Parliament? (8:33 a.m.)

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for the Labour Party said Johnson may be in contempt of Parliament because the prime minister refused to personally sign the letter sent to Brussels requesting a Brexit extension. Speaking on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday show, he accused Johnson of “behaving a bit like a spoilt brat”

Earlier:

Johnson Asks EU for Brexit Delay, But Hopes He Won’t Need It (2)

Johnson Might Yet Get Brexit Done: Counting the Votes

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net

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