Boris Johnson vowed on Sunday he would not quit as Britain’s prime minister even if he fails to secure a deal to leave the European Union, saying only his Conservative government can deliver Brexit on 31 October.
At the beginning of his party’s annual conference in the northern city of Manchester, Johnson wants to rally his party with the “do or die” message that he will deliver Brexit by the end of October, with or without a deal.
But there are hurdles to clear, not least of which is what Johnson calls “the surrender act” – the law parliament passed to force the prime minister to request a Brexit delay if he has not secured a deal with Brussels by an Oct. 17-18 EU summit.
Johnson again declined to explain how he plans to circumvent that law and deliver on his Brexit promise, deepening uncertainty around Britain’s biggest trade and foreign policy shift for more than 40 years.
Asked if he would resign to avoid having to ask for a delay, Johnson said: “No, I have undertaken to lead the party and my country at a difficult time and I am going to continue to do that. I believe it is my responsibility.”
Opposition lawmakers have been highly critical of Johnson’s reference to “the surrender bill”, saying his language is stirring even more division in a country that has remained split since the 2016 referendum on EU membership.