LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to be drawn on whether he had asked one of his fellow European Union leaders to veto an extension to the scheduled Brexit departure date on Oct. 31.
Johnson came to office in July, promising to leave the EU — do or die — by Halloween. The House of Commons has sought to block a departure without an agreement, arguing that such an arrangement would disrupt trade and plunge the economy into recession.
Parliament’s measure will force Johnson to seek a delay if a deal hasn’t been approved by Oct. 19. Johnson told the BBC that EU leaders would be reluctant to keep a “truculent” U.K. in the bloc, and sidestepped the question of whether he had asked any EU leaders to offer a veto.
“I’m not going to get into my discussions with any other EU head of state about the negotiations, because they are extremely interesting but they are also delicate,” he said. “It is certainly true that other EU countries also don’t want this thing to keep dragging on.”
Johnson headed Sunday to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, where the party was expected to endorse government plans to spend more on the country’s National Health Service.