Lawmakers prepare court action to enforce Brexit delay

Updated September 08, 2019

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Anti-Brexit activists, and activists opposing the British government's actions in relation to the handling of Brexit, demonstrate during an anti-government protest calling for the Prime Minister's resignation, outside Downing Street in central London on September 7. — AFP
Anti-Brexit activists, and activists opposing the British government's actions in relation to the handling of Brexit, demonstrate during an anti-government protest calling for the Prime Minister's resignation, outside Downing Street in central London on September 7. — AFP

LONDON: British lawmakers are preparing legal action in case Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to defy legislation compelling him to seek a further delay to Brexit, opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said on Saturday.

An opposition bill which would force Johnson to ask the European Union for an extension to Britain’s departure to avoid an Oct 31 exit without a transition deal was approved by parliament’s appointed upper chamber, the House of Lords, on Friday.

Queen Elizabeth is expected to sign it into law on Monday.

The BBC said earlier that lawmakers, including moderate Conservatives expelled this week from their party for backing the bill, have lined up a legal team and are willing to go to court to enforce the legislation if necessary. The government had no immediate comment.

Johnson, a leader of the campaign to leave the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum, took office in July after Conservative party predecessor Theresa May quit following three failed attempts to get a deal with Brussels through parliament.

The new prime minister vows to take Britain out of the EU on Oct 31, with or without a deal with the bloc.

Johnson has said he has no intention of seeking an extension and would rather “die in a ditch” than delay Brexit.

Saturday’s Daily Tele­graph reported that the prime minister is prepared to defy parliament’s instruction to request an extension to the Brexit process if he fails to agree a new deal.

The newspaper quoted Johnson as saying he was only bound “in theory” by the new legislation.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2019