British MPs voted Saturday to force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ask the European Union to delay Brexit yet again but he insisted Britain must leave on October 31.
In a day of high drama in the House of Commons, MPs declined to give their backing to the divorce agreement Johnson struck with the EU this week until accompanying legislation has been passed.
In doing so, MPs triggered a law requiring Johnson to write to EU leaders asking to delay Brexit to avoid a “no deal” departure in less than two weeks.
The result is a major blow to Johnson, who said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than prolong the tortuous Brexit process that has left Britain in political turmoil since the 2016 EU referendum.
But in a typically defiant response, the Conservative leader refused, sparking outrage among opposition MPs — and fresh uncertainty about what happens next.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so,” he told MPs, who were sitting on a Saturday for the first time since the 1982 Falklands War.
He said he would tell EU leaders that “further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy”.