Brexit Secretary confirms Johnson would request Brexit delay if no deal is in place


Boris Johnson will write a letter to Brussels asking for a delay if no deal is approved by Saturday, the UK Brexit Secretary has said on the final day of negotiations before the key summit.

The British Prime Minister’s negotiators resumed talks on Wednesday morning after wrapping up their last session in the early hours as they strive to get an agreement ready for Thursday’s meeting of EU leaders.

Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay gives evidence to the Exiting the European Union Committee

If Mr Johnson fails to get a deal by the weekend, he will face an almighty clash with MPs who will demand he complies with the Benn Act and ask for an extension, something he has repeatedly ruled out doing.

Stephen Barclay was questioned by the anti-no-deal legislation’s namesake, Labour’s Hilary Benn, when appearing at the Exiting the European Union Committee of MPs.

The Brexit Secretary reiterated that the UK PM would write to Brussels asking for an Article 50 extension, as previously revealed in documents submitted during a Scottish court challenge.

He said: “I can confirm, as the Prime Minister has repeatedly set out, that firstly the government will comply with the law, and secondly it will comply with undertakings given to the court in respect of the law.”

The UK is due to exit the EU on October 31

Mr Barclay confirmed that the British government “will abide by” what is set out in that letter, following fears the PM could try and scupper an extension with a second contradictory letter or request to a member state to block an extension.

The cabinet minister reiterated the UK government’s commitment to leave the EU on the current October 31 deadline, despite the act demanding a delay to the end of January if MPs to do not approve a deal by Saturday.

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