Fresh pressure on MPs to back Boris Johnson as Emmanuel Macron vows to veto Brexit extension

Posted On: 
18th October 2019

MPs are facing extra pressure to back Boris Johnson's new Brexit deal after French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to block any new Brexit extension.

The French President said the 31 October deadline should be "respected"
Credit: 
PA

The French President said it was "time to put an end" to Brexit negotiations as he suggested EU leaders would veto any further delay ahead of a crunch Saturday vote on Boris Johnson's new plan.

The comments are likely to boost the Prime Minister's argument that voting against his new-look deal could result in a no-deal exit on 31 October.

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The Prime Minister has been scrambling to find sufficient support for his plans after his confidence-and-supply partners, the DUP, vowed to vote against the deal over concerns about the impact on Northern Ireland.

But the internvention from the French leader will heap further pressure on Labour MPs to back the deal, despite threats they could be deselected by party bosses if they vote with the government.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the French leader said: “I do not think we shall grant any further delay.

“I believe it is now time to put an end to these negotiations and work on the future relationship and put an end to what is currently ongoing.” He added: “Like I said, there shall be no delay unless there are some major changes.”

His remarks could also derail plans by Tory MP Oliver Letwin to put an amendment before MPs during tomorrow's 'super Saturday' sitting which could force Mr Johnson to seek an extension to the 31 October deadline in order to ensure Parliament has time to pass all the necessary legislation to leave with a deal.

But in further comments, Mr Macron said he thought the Hallowe'en deadline should "be respected".

He added: "I don't think that new deadlines should be given. We need to end these negotiations and get on negotiating the future relationship."

The warning from Mr Macron follows similar comments from Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who said MPs should not make the "assumption" the bloc would allow a further delay.

"Plan B is no deal, and we’re all preparing for that, and we’ve all been preparing for that since the referendum, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen,” he said.

"I don’t think MPs voting tomorrow should make the assumption there would be unanimity for an extension.

"Our point of view has always been that we would be open to it, but it would be a mistake to assume that it’s a guarantee, given that it requires unanimity by all 27 member states."