Johnson has consistently stated that, despite the enactment of the recent ‘Benn Act’ compelling him to seek an extension to Article 50 from the EU, he would not ask for a delay to Brexit and the UK would leave the bloc on October 31.
The UK prime minister has until now insisted that his Tory government would obey the law, but has been less forthcoming as to how he can keep his promise of no further Brexit delays.
The Court of Session in Edinburgh heard on Friday that UK government documents reveal that they accept Johnson is obliged to “send a letter... no later than 19 October” to President of the European Council Donald Tusk, seeking a Brexit delay.
The legal action led by a number of anti-Brexit campaigners including SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC will ask Scotland’s highest court to require Johnson to request an extension to avoid leaving the bloc without a deal.
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In September, during questions from the media after conducting a speech in front of a wall of police officers in West Yorkshire, Johnson claimed he “would rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for a delay. He’s also insisted that the UK would leave the EU “do or die” on October 31.
Steve Baker, chair of the hardline Brexit European Research Group (ERG), appeared to suggest on Twitter that he had been reassured that the government still intended to leave by the end of October, come what may.
It comes after Johnson’s Brexit plans to solve the Irish backstop were given cold treatment by EU officials. Brussels’ Brexit Steering Group (BSG) were less than impressed, writing in a draft statement on Thursday that the proposals “do not represent a basis for an agreement to which the parliament could give consent by the end of the month.”
The UK government is yet to comment.