Johnson says he would rather be ‘dead in a ditch’ than delay Brexit
British prime minister denies he wants election during speech in west Yorkshire
British prime minister Boris Johnson makes a speech during a visit to Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Asked if he could promise to the British public that he would not go to Brussels and ask for another delay to Brexit, Mr Johnson said: “Yes I can. I’d rather be dead in a ditch.”
“It achieves absolutely nothing. What on Earth is the point of further delay?” he added, speaking following a speech at a police station in Wakefield.
Responding to his brother Jo Johnson’s resignation as junior minister and MP, the prime minister said Jo “does not agree with me about the European Union because it’s an issue that obviously divides families and divides everybody”.
The prime minister said he hated “banging on about Brexit” and added: “I don’t want an election at all, but frankly I cannot see any other way.
“The only way to get this thing done, to get this thing moving, is to make that decision.
“Do you want this Government to take us out on October 31st or do you want Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to go to that crucial summit in Brussels on October 17th, effectively hand over control to the EU and keep us in beyond October 31st?
“I think it’s a no-brainer and I’m sorry to bring this painful subject up this afternoon but that’s the reality of what we face and for me there can only be one way forward for our country.”
On Wednesday, Mr Johnson failed in his attempt to call a general election next month after most opposition MPs abstained denying him the two-thirds majority he needed in a Commons vote – 298 MPs voted in favour of the motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, with 56 against.
Labour MPs abstained in the vote and party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would only vote for a general election after the Bill seeking to block a no-deal Brexit becomes law.
Earlier on Wednesday, MPs voted by 329 to 300 for the Bill obliging Mr Johnson to seek a three-month delay to Brexit if he fails to secure a withdrawal deal by October 19th.
Yvette Cooper, the chairwoman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, criticised Mr Johnson’s use of police officers as a backdrop to his speech on Thursday. The Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, in West Yorkshire, said: “This is an abuse of power by Boris Johnson, making so many police stop their training and work to be part of his political stunt. They have a job to do here in West Yorks, and they train and work hard for the whole community – completely unacceptable to use them in this way.” – Agencies