If Boris Johnson were to follow through with the Benn Act, his first letter to EU leaders would require him to ask for an extension to the Brexit deadline, but it would also be “perfectly reasonable” for him to send another letter pointing out the reasons not to give that extension, said Andrea Jacqueline Leadsom, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, during an interview on Wednesday, presstv.ir reported.
There has been speculation for some time that this might be the loophole Johnson intends to use ever since he made the conflicting promises of both obeying the Benn Act and ensuring that the UK leaves the EU on 31 October.
However, experts say that it would be unlawful for Boris Johnson to send two letters to the EU.
Shadow Secretary, Keir Starmer, said: “Andrea Leadsom’s comments are neither the spirit nor the letter of the law. If there is no deal by the end of next week, the Prime Minister must ask for, and accept, an extension. One letter. No equivocation.”
Others followed suit by saying that such a move by the Prime Minister would be illegal and frustrate the purpose of the Benn Act.
Meanwhile, campaigners are preparing to launch contempt proceedings against the PM if he reneges on his promise to seek an extension to Brexit.
Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, has cleared time for a hearing on 21 October, where he could issue court orders forcing Johnson to send a letter to the EU asking for an extension from 31 October to 31 January.
The Government, under Boris Johnson, has promised not to side step the Benn Act or undermine its provisions, but the Prime Minister also pledged that the UK would leave the EU on 31 October, come what may.
It seems like one of these promises is about to be broken, as leaked documents revealed by The Guardian detailed the European Union’s point-by-point rejection of Boris Johnson’s Brexit proposals for the Irish border.