A senior minister who quit British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet says the government is making little or no effort to secure a Brexit agreement with the European Union, despite Johnson’s insistence that he wants a deal.
Amber Rudd says “there is no evidence of a deal. There are no formal negotiations taking place.”
Rudd stepped down as work and pensions secretary late Saturday, in the latest blow to the embattled British prime minister.
Johnson says Britain must leave the EU as scheduled Oct. 31 even if there is no divorce agreement with the bloc. But his plan is meeting fierce resistance, including from some members of his own party.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid insisted on Sunday that the government was “straining every sinew to get a deal.”
Seeking a deal, not a delay
Javid said Johnson will not ask for a Brexit delay at an EU summit next month, but will instead press to secure a deal to smooth Britain’s departure from the bloc.
“First of all, the prime minister will go to the council meeting on the 17th and 18th (of October), he’ll be trying to strike a deal. He absolutely will not be asking for an extension in that meeting,” Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
He said the bill to force the government to ask for an extension to Brexit talks only has Oct. 19 as a deadline for Parliament to either back a deal or leaving without an agreement, and that was the date the government was watching.
“The bill talks about the 19th (of October) being an important date and at that point we will consider our options but our policy is clear. It is unchanged, we will be leaving on Oct. 31,” he said. “We will obey all laws because all governments should obey laws absolutely, but you will have to wait and see what happens then.”