TORY PM Johnson said yesterday that he believed there was ‘a good chance’ of a Brexit deal with the EU, while also insisting that he is prepared to leave the EU on October 31st, despite the Benn Act which blocks no-deal and requires him to ask the EU for an extension.
‘The chances of us getting a deal have not been helped by “The Surrender Act”,’ Johnson said on the BBC Andew Marr Show.
‘The issue is that in Brussels if they suspect or they think that there is a realistic chance that the UK can be kept in by any means past the 31st, that clearly takes away a lot of our negotiating freedom of manoeuvre,’ he continued.
Asked by Marr: ‘Is it more likely than not that we will have a no deal?’
Johnson replied: ‘I do think that there is a good chance of a deal, and we are working incredibly hard, and we will continue to work tomorrow and in the course of the next few days continuously right up until October 13, to see if we can get this thing over the line.’
Marr then asked: ‘Can you leave the EU on October 31st without a deal?’
Johnson replied: ‘Of course we can.’
Marr interjected: ‘But the law says something very different, how do you get around the Benn Act? Would you use the superiority of EU law over British law? Would you use contingency powers? Have you asked another EU country to veto it?’
Johnson would not be drawn repeating that he ‘will not discuss hypothetical’.
Asked if he would ever do an electoral deal with Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, Johnson replied: ‘No.’
Meanwhile the Tory Party conference opened yesterday afternoon, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘I think that the British people have had more than enough of EU leaders disrespecting UK leaders. We will strive in good faith for a good deal, but if the EU spurn the opportunity for a win, win deal we will leave at the end of October no ifs, no buts.’
Michael Andrew Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told the Tory Party Conference: ‘17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, more than ever voted for any party or any policy in our country’s history.
‘But three years on that democratic verdict has not been honoured. We can’t allow this division and delay to continue. We must get Brexit done.’