UK Leader Johnson Renews Vow to Leave EU by Deadline - NBC4 Washington
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UK Leader Johnson Renews Vow to Leave EU by Deadline

Johnson's proposals focus on maintaining an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland

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    UK Leader Johnson Renews Vow to Leave EU by Deadline
    Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street to attend Parliament in London, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The U.K. offered the European Union a proposed last-minute Brexit deal on Wednesday that it said represents a realistic compromise for both sides, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the bloc to hold "rapid negotiations towards a solution" after years of wrangling.

    British Prime Minister on Sunday renewed his vow to take the country out of the European Union by the Brexit deadline, in an apparent contradiction of a government pledge in court days earlier to ask for an extension if there's no withdrawal deal.

    "We will be packing our bags and walking out on" Oct. 31, Boris Johnson wrote in The Sun on Sunday and Sunday Express newspapers.

    "The only question is whether Brussels cheerily waves us off with a mutually agreeable deal or whether we will be forced to head off on our own."

    Johnson's comments are in line with his past repeated assertions on the key question of whether Britain, if it can't finalize a divorce deal with the bloc, would leave without an agreement. But they're at odds with a U.K. government document quoted in a Scottish court Friday indicating Johnson intends to comply with a law Parliament passed this month requiring the prime minister to ask for a delay if there's no deal with the EU in place by Oct. 19.

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    The British government has formally suspended parliament, sending lawmakers home for five weeks amid a Brexit crisis early Tuesday, but only after House of Commons Speaker John Bercow voiced his dismay, calling it "an act of executive fiat." Opposition lawmakers chanted "shame on you," as Bercow and conservative leaders left the room.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019)

    It's not clear how the government will resolve the difference between Johnson's public stance and the position taken in court.

    Johnson's op-ed appeared aimed at adding pressure on the EU to agree to his latest Brexit proposals as the deadline nears. He urged EU negotiators to join the British side to agree on a deal the U.K. Parliament can support.

    Also Sunday, Johnson presented his proposals to French President Emmanuel Macron, who said EU negotiators will determine in the coming days whether an amiable divorce deal is possible.

    The two leaders spoke about Johnson's proposals for an accord to soften the blow of Britain's pending exit from the EU, Macron's office said in a statement.

    Macron, who has resisted a potential extension, told the British prime minister "negotiations should pursue quickly in the coming days" with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, his office said.

    Macron said they will determine at the end of the week "whether an accord is possible in the respect of European Union principles" of the single market and stability in Ireland.

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    British conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, was criticized for stretching out across a bench as lawmakers discussed a vote allowing them to take control and introduce a bill that would seek to prevent a “no deal” Brexit.

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019)

    Johnson's proposals focus on maintaining an open border between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, which has been the key sticking point to a Brexit deal. The U.K. proposes to do that by keeping Northern Ireland closely aligned to EU rules for trade in goods, possibly for an extended period.

    Angela Charlton contributed to this report.