World

Johnson open to shutting Parliament for no-deal Brexit

LONDON: Mr Boris Johnson, favourite to be the next British prime minister, on Wednesday refused to say whether he would seek to shut Parliament to facilitate a no-deal Brexit but agreed that such a plan could be convenient for him.

Sky News reported on Tuesday that Mr Johnson is considering holding the Queen's Speech, in which the prime minister lays out his policy programme, in November. That means lawmakers would be sent home two weeks earlier, hindering their ability to stop Britain's leaving the European Union without a deal on Oct 31.

"I'm not going to comment on our programme," Mr Johnson said, when asked at a hustings event when he would introduce a Queen's Speech.

Asked about the convenience of a November Queen's Speech, he said: "I'm not going to dissent from you. That seems like a reasonable point."

On Tuesday, a weak sterling fell further on the news of the no-deal Brexit plan, dipping below US$1.24 for the first time since April 2017.

Mr Johnson, likely to be announced as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership race next Tuesday and therefore the next prime minister, has said he wants to secure a withdrawal deal with the EU but is prepared to leave without one if necessary.

He told the hustings event for party members on Wednesday that he was willing to negotiate with the EU but if faced with a lack of flexibility or compromise, Britain would have to leave regardless. Even so, Mr Johnson said he sensed a change among the MPs and believed many now just want to get Brexit done. - REUTERS

WORLD