Boris Johnson has sent a letter to the EU requesting a delay – but did not sign the letter – and insisted the letter was from parliament.
Theprime minister got a senior diplomat to send an unsigned photocopy of the Benn act document, and sent a covering letter insisting anything that stopped the UK leaving on October 31st was “deeply corrosive”.
But in response EU council president Donald Tusk tweeted he had received the letter, and “will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react.”
The move comes after a defiant prime minister told the Commons he will not negotiate a fresh Brexit extension with the EU despite suffering an embarrassing defeat in parliament.
At a special Saturday sitting, MPs voted by 322 to 306 in favour of an amendment withholding approval of his Brexit deal until legislation to implement it is in place.
The amendment tabled by former cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin was intended to force him to comply with the so-called Benn act requiring him to seek a Brexit extension.
The development – reported by PA – came as the PM wrote to all Tory MPs and peers insisting that he will tell Brussels a further Brexit delay is “not a solution” to the situation.
In a letter to members of the Tory parliamentary party, the PM said: “I will tell the European Union what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.”
He added: “It is quite possible that our friends in the European Union will reject Parliament’s request for a further delay (or not take a decision quickly).”
The PM also discussed the situation with French president Emmanuel Macron on Saturday.
Amid noisy Commons scenes, Johnson had insisted that he was not “daunted or dismayed” by the vote result and remained committed to taking Britain out by October 31.
“I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, neither does the law compel me to do so,” he said.
Asked if previous statements from ministers that the government would comply with the law still stood, the prime minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “Governments comply with the law.”
Following the vote, Johnson said that he did not believe the other EU member states would be “attracted” to a further delay.
He said the government would be tabling legislation next week to implement the terms of the agreement.
“I hope that then honourable members, faced with a choice of our new deal for the UK and the European Union, will change their minds because it was pretty close today,” he said.
“I hope that they will change their minds and support this deal in overwhelming numbers.
“I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31.”