Boris Johnson’s Statement to Parliament 19 Oct 2019 and Letters to European Union
In pursuance of the government’s commitment to leave the European Union on 31 October, parliament met in session on Saturday, 19 October. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, sought to obtain assent from the House to present a new bill to the representatives of the European Union. However, an amendment put forward by the Conservative MP, Sir Oliver Letwin (who had the whip removed in September), sought to withhold approval for the bill until parliament passed a law to enact it. The amendment was passed by 322 votes to 306. The immediate consequence is Boris Johnson is compelled to request a 3 month extension under the terms of the Benn Act. It is a further attempt by Remainers to prevent the prompt execution of the results of the EU Referendum of 2016.
The Prime Minister then gave his immediate response. It appears still he intends to meet his deadline of taking Britain out of the European Union on 31 October.
Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to you, I am very grateful to the House of Commons staff, everybody who’s put themselves out, everybody who has come to give up their time in this debate today.
It’s been a very important debate, an exceptional moment for our country, an exceptional moment for our Parliament.
Alas the opportunity to have a meaningful vote has been effectively been passed up because the meaningful vote has been voided of meaning.
But I wish the House to know that I’m not daunted or dismayed by this particular result and I think it probably became likely once it was obvious that the amendment from my Right Honourable Friend the Member for West Dorset was going to remain on the order paper.
I continue in the very strong belief that the best thing for the UK and for the whole of Europe is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31.
And to anticipate the questions that are coming from the benches opposite, I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, and neither does the law compel me to do so.
I will tell our friends and colleagues in the EU exactly what I’ve told everyone in the last 88 days that I’ve served as Prime Minister: that further delay would be bad for this country, bad for the European Union and bad for democracy.
So next week the Government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the EU with our new deal on October 31.
And I hope that our European Union colleagues and friends will not be attracted as the benches opposite are by delay. I don’t think they’ll be attracted by delay.
And I hope that then Honourable Members faced with a choice of our new deal, our new deal for the UK and the European Union, will change their minds because it was pretty close today. I hope that they will change their minds and support this deal in overwhelming numbers.
Since I became Prime Minister I‘ve said we must get on and get Brexit done on October 31 so that this country can move on.
Mr Speaker, that policy remains unchanged, no delays, and I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31 and I continue to commend this excellent deal, Mr Speaker, to the House.
Two letters – to the Secretary-General and to the President of the European Union – were accordingly dispatched indicating the government’s intentions later that day. One was a covering letter from Sir Tim Barrow, UK Permanent Representative to the EU, describing the next steps for the government, and the other was from Boris Johnson himself, requesting an extension to Britain’s membership until 31 January 2020, though this final letter was unsigned.
PM’s introduction statement to the House: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-statement-in-the-house-of-commons-19-october-2019
PM’s response to the amendment vote: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pms-statement-in-the-house-19-october-2019
The Prime Minister’s letter to the EU: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/840665/Letter_from_UK_to_EU_Council.pdf
Government Brexit Preparations: