Boris Johnson: I will not resign to avoid delaying Brexit
British prime minister refuses to apologise for language in House of Commons
Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson arrives at BBC television studios in Salford on Sunday. Photograph: EPA
Mr Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal, despite parliament passing a law which would require him to ask for an extension to the Brexit deadline if MPs have not approved a deal. He has said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than request a delay.
Asked in an interview with the BBC if he would resign so that he did not have to ask for a delay, Mr Johnson said: “No, I have undertaken to lead the party and my country at a difficult time and I am going to continue to do that. I believe it is my responsibility to do that.”
The prime minister admitted that tempers on both sides of the Brexit debate had become “inflamed” — but said it was wrong for parliamentarians to be crowded out from using words like surrender.
Mr Johnson defended his use of words such as “surrender” — saying to avoid doing so was “impoverishing the language and diminishing parliamentary debate”.
He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think what most people in this country would agree is that the Brexit discussion has been going on for far too long and it is true that tempers on both sides have now become inflamed...
“The best way to end this is to get Brexit done on October 31st and move the country forwards.”
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner condemned Mr Johnson’s refusal to apologise for his use of language in parliament.
Ms Rayner accused the prime minister of pursuing a deliberate strategy to sow division in the country.
“To suggest in any way that we are surrendering and not wanting to do the best by our country is really damaging, especially as a direct strategy from No 10. I think he should be utterly ashamed of himself ,” she told The Andrew Marr Show.
“We have a responsibility as parliamentarians to dial down that language and act responsibly. Boris Johnson as our prime minister is using No 10 to inflame and divide our country as a direct strategy. I think that is irresponsible, I think it is wrong.” – Agencies