Brexit secretary confirms Boris Johnson will request Brexit delay if no deal approved by Saturday

Stephen Barclay addresses the Brexit committee. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Stephen Barclay addresses the Brexit committee. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

Boris Johnson will write a letter to Brussels asking for a delay if no deal is approved by Saturday, the Brexit secretary has confirmed.

As negotiations resumed, Stephen Barclay was questioned by the anti-no-deal legislation's namesake, Labour's Hilary Benn, when appearing at the Exiting the European Union Committee of MPs.

The Brexit secretary reiterated that the PM would write to Brussels asking for an Article 50 extension, as previously revealed in documents submitted during a Scottish court challenge.

He said: "I can confirm, as the prime minister has repeatedly set out, that firstly the government will comply with the law, and secondly it will comply with undertakings given to the court in respect of the law."

Barclay confirmed that the government "will abide by" what is set out in that letter, following fears the PM could try and scupper an extension with a second contradictory letter or request to a member state to block an extension.

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He added, however, the government was still committed to leaving on October 31st.

If Johnson does fail to get a deal by the weekend, he will face an almighty clash with MPs who will demand he complies with the Benn act and ask for an extension, something he has repeatedly ruled out doing.

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