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British lawmakers prepare court action to enforce Brexit delay

Updated: 2019-09-07 17:56

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seen aboard the Opportunus IV fishing trawler in Peterhead, Scotland, Britain Sept 6, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - British lawmakers are preparing legal action in case Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to defy legislation compelling him to seek a further delay to Brexit, the BBC reported on Saturday.

An opposition bill which would force Johnson to ask the European Union for an extension to Britain's departure to avoid a no-deal exit on Oct 31 was approved by parliament's appointed upper chamber, the House of Lords, on Friday.

Queen Elizabeth is expected to sign it into law on Monday.

The government had no immediate comment on the BBC report, which said lawmakers, including Conservatives expelled this week from Johnson's ruling party, have lined up a legal team and are willing to go to court to enforce the legislation if necessary.

Johnson, a leader of the campaign to leave the EU during the 2016 Brexit referendum, took office in July after his Conservative party predecessor Theresa May quit following three failed attempts to get a deal with Brussels through parliament.

The new prime minister says he wants to take Britain out of the EU on Oct 31, with or without a deal with the bloc.

Johnson has said he has no intention of seeking an extension and would rather "die in a ditch" than delay Brexit.

Saturday's Daily Telegraph reported that the prime minister is prepared to defy parliament's instruction to request an extension to the Brexit process if he fails to agree a new deal.

The newspaper quoted Johnson as saying he was only bound "in theory" by the new legislation.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was aware of the lawmakers' legal moves.

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbynspeaks during debate in the House of Commons in London, Britain Sept 4, 2019. [Photo/Agencies]

"The courts making a decision to try to make a prime minister abide by the law, made by a parliament, of which he is a member. These are strange times for democracy," Corbyn told BBC television.

An opinion poll on voting intentions, carried out by Survation for the Daily Mail, put the Conservatives on 29 percent, down 2 percent from the previous poll, with Labour unchanged on 24 percent. The Liberal Democrats were on 18 percent, with the Brexit Party on 17 percent.

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