LONDON (AP) — Britain’s main opposition leader is seeking a guarantee that Prime Minister Boris Johnson won’t let the U.K. tumble out of the European Union during an election campaign.
Johnson says Britain will leave the EU as scheduled on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday accused him of planning “anti-democratic” maneuvers to get his way.
Opposition lawmakers plan to try to topple Johnson’s Conservative government with a no-confidence vote when Parliament returns from its summer break in September. If the government should lose, Johnson would have to call a national election. Allies say Johnson could hold the election after Oct. 31, so Britain would automatically leave the EU during the campaign.
Corbyn said that would be “an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power.” By convention, governments are not supposed to make any major policy decisions during election periods.
Corbyn wrote to civil service chief Mark Sedwill on Thursday seeking a ruling that the government would have to delay Brexit until after an election “to let the electorate decide and the incoming government to take the next steps on the basis of the voters’ wishes.”
Johnson became prime minister last month after winning a Conservative Party leadership contest on a promise to leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce agreement. He is demanding the bloc renegotiate the deal it struck with his predecessor, Theresa May, something that EU leaders are refusing to do.
On Thursday, Johnson declined to say what he would do if the government lost a no-confidence vote.
“We are going to leave the European Union on Oct. 31, which is what the people of this country voted for, it’s what MPs voted for, and that’s what I think parliamentarians of this country should get on and do,” he said.
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