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  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was ambushed in Parliament on Saturday by his rivals trying to block an Oct. 31 Brexit.

    U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was ambushed in Parliament on Saturday by his rivals trying to block an Oct. 31 Brexit. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 October 2019

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said he would not allow a vote on Monday, as the same issue was discussed on Saturday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces potentially dangerous ratification of his Brexit agreement after the Speaker of Parliament refused to allow a vote on the issue Monday.

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UK Will Not Extend Brexit Deadline Despite Unsigned Request

With only 10 days left until the Oct. 31 deadline, the deal is once again in jeopardy as British politicians argue over whether to leave the bloc with or without a pact or even whether to hold another referendum.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said he would not allow a vote on Monday, as the same issue was discussed on Saturday, the day Johnson's rivals turned their big Brexit day into a humiliation.

"In short, today's motion is, in substance, the same as Saturday's and the House already decided on the matter," Bercow told Parliament.

The president's decision means the government will have to go ahead with the legislation necessary for ratification, which opponents plan to thwart with amendments that would destroy the agreement reached by Johnson.

The prime minister was ambushed in Parliament on Saturday by his rivals, who demanded a change in the sequence of ratification of the agreement, exposing Johnson to a law that forced him to request a postponement until Jan. 31.

The premier sent the request note as required, but not signed, and added another signed letter arguing against what he presented as a deeply corrosive delay. One of his most important ministers said Britain would still leave the bloc on the agreed-upon date.

"We will leave on October 31. We have the means and the capacity to do it," Michael Gove, the minister in charge of Brexit's preparations, told Sky News.

Johnson also sent three letters to Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. The first is an explanation that the government is following its legal protocols; the second, an unsigned copy of the text of the Benn Act, which Parliament forced him to write; and a third in which Johnson said he did not want an extension.

The EU accepted the first letter as valid but has not yet given a final response on an extension. However, it is preparing the steps to ratify the agreement in the European Parliament.

The British government insists that the country will leave the EU on Oct. 31. Parliament will vote on Tuesday in a second reading on legislation known as the Exit Agreement Bill, after which amendments to the text can be proposed.

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