UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a showdown in parliament on Monday as he calls for a general election ahead of the Brexit deadline on October 31.
It comes as a spokesman for the prime minister confirmed that parliament would be prorogued – or suspended – at the end of the day ahead of a Queen’s speech on October 14.
Johnson has ruled out any more “pointless delays” to the negotiations with the EU over Brexit, despite the fact that a bill to prevent Britain leaving the European Union on October 31 without a deal was due to be given royal assent on Monday.
That law could require Johnson to ask for more time if a deal has not been inked before an EU summit on Oct. 17-18, although Finance Minister Sajid Javid said Johnson would not seek an extension.
“The bill talks about the 19th (of October) being an important date and at that point we will consider our options but our policy is clear, it is unchanged, we will be leaving on October 31,” he said.
“We will obey all laws because all governments should obey laws absolutely, but you will have to wait and see what happens then.”
Whether or not Johnson is willing to go as far as to break the law in refusing to seek an extension from the EU remains to be seen, but the government could instead choose to try to sabotage the process.
On Sunday, foreign minister Dominic Raab said the government would “adhere to the law”, but went on to say: “We will also want to test to the limit what it does actually lawfully require.”
“We will look very carefully at the implications and our interpretation of it … At what it requires and what it doesn’t require,” Raab told the BBC.
As well as leading to street protests, Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament led to a rebellion from within his own party, with 21 MPs defying the party whip and voting against the government. The rebels were then effectively kicked out of the Conservative party last week.
MPs will sit today at 2.30 pm (BST) with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn expected to call for an emergency debate on Brexit and Johnson then asking MPs to vote on an early election.