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Friday 15 November 2019

EU may refuse UK Brexit delay as Boris beaten over exit and election

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces off against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces off against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons

There is no guarantee EU leaders will allow Brexit to be delayed again even if the UK seeks an extension.

MPs have dramatically backed legislation which requires the government to ask for a three-month delay beyond October 31.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson immediately demanded an election, saying he would never "surrender" to the EU. His request was voted down last night.

Ireland is among countries likely to support more time for negotiations - but a consensus among all 27 member states will be difficult to achieve.

Finland's Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU, said there is not widespread support for a further Brexit extension.

Nowhere

Mr Rinne said the EU would require "some sort of future scenario... to underline that something sensible could start happening".

He said there is "no sense" in granting something "that seems to lead nowhere, and I don't think it's possible to find majority support for such an extension".

The German government would not go further than Chancellor Angela Merkel's previous comments that the two sides can still work toward a deal by the end of October.

Speaking in Dublin, Tanaiste Simon Coveney said Irish people must continue "preparing for the worst".

"If there is an extension looked for then I think whichever prime minister asks for that will need to make a persuasive case as to how that extension will be used to get a deal, and Ireland's position has always been if it makes sense to extend to try [to] get a deal then we would support that course of action," he said.

After another 24 hours of heated debate in the House of Commons, it still remains unclear as to when or how the UK will leave the EU.

Although the Bill aimed at delaying the UK's exit was rushed through the House of Commons, pro-Brexit peers in the House of Lords are threatening to filibuster it.

The manoeuvres are part of a head-on showdown between Mr Johnson's Brexit-at-all-costs administration and a parliament worried about the economic and social damage that could be wrought by a messy divorce.

Mr Johnson said the Bill had scuppered his Brexit negotiations with Brussels.

"It's therefore a Bill without precedent in the history of this house, seeking as it does to force the prime minister with a pre-drafted letter to surrender in international negotiations," he told parliament.

"I refuse to do this. This house has left no other option than letting the public decide who they want as prime minister."

Earlier yesterday, Mr Johnson had claimed he will still get a Brexit deal that scraps the backstop and branded Labour's Jeremy Corbyn a "chlorinated chicken".

It came after Mr Corbyn challenged Mr Johnson on reports that his negotiating strategy is to "run down the clock" and his bid to remove the backstop to avoid a hard border in Ireland is a "fantasy".

He demanded that Mr Johnson provide details of his alternative proposals for the backstop.

Meanwhile, consumers fear they will be hit in the pocket as a result of Brexit.

They fear higher prices for food, fuel and flights, and are concerned over disruption of travel plans and security checks at the Border, according to a survey of 1,000 people by marketing company Core.

The research found 77pc of those surveyed believed Brexit will mean the Irish economy suffers. A majority are concerned over the disruption of travel plans and possible security checks on the Border.

Flights, food and fuel top the list of concerns. Despite Brexit uncertainty, 31pc said affordable housing should be Ireland's main priority.

The research was conducted to measure how Irish people feel about Brexit and how it will impact on their lives.

Their greatest concern is the impact Brexit will have on peace and security on the island of Ireland. Seven out of 10 were worried about travelling between the UK and Ireland.

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