Johnson Defies Shouts To 'Resign'

An unrepentant Boris Johnson faces raucous Parliament

AP News
September 25, 2019 - 3:30 pm

An unrepentant Boris Johnson faces raucous Parliament


By DANICA KIRKA and JILL LAWLESS Associated Press    

LONDON (AP) — An unrepentant Prime Minister Boris Johnson brushed off cries of "Resign!" and dared the political opposition to try to topple him Wednesday at a raucous session of Parliament, a day after Britain's highest court ruled he acted illegally in suspending the body ahead of the Brexit deadline.

Amid shouts, heated attacks and cries of "Order!" in the House of Commons, Johnson emphatically defended his effort to withdraw Britain from the European Union by Oct. 31, with or without a separation agreement with the EU.

"I say it is time to get Brexit done," he declared, accusing his opponents of trying to frustrate the will of the people, who voted by 52%-48% for Brexit in 2016.

Johnson was greeted with applause from his own Conservative lawmakers and jeers from the opposition side as he faced Commons, hours after cutting short a trip to the United Nations in New York.

He flew home early after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled 11-0 Tuesday that his attempt to suspend Parliament for five weeks had the effect of stymieing its scrutiny of the government over Brexit. The court declared the suspension void.

The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said the prime minister "should have done the honorable thing and resigned" after the ruling.

Johnson ignored calls to apologize or to step down. He said a new election is the only way to unblock Britain's "paralyzed Parliament."

"I think the people of this country have had enough of it — this Parliament must either stand aside and let this government get Brexit done or bring a vote of confidence and finally face the day of reckoning with the voters," he said.

He said he would welcome a no-confidence motion from any of the opposition parties — a step that could bring down his government and lead to a new election.

Opposition lawmakers and some Conservative rebels said they will back an election only if a no-deal Brexit is ruled out.

Economists have warned that leaving the EU without a deal will disrupt Britain's trade with the Continent and plunge the country's economy into recession and could bring shortages of food and medicine.

Parliament has passed a law requiring Johnson to seek a Brexit extension if there is no deal, but he has said he won't do that under any circumstances.

The prime minister has sought to position himself as the champion of the people against a recalcitrant establishment bent on frustrating the 2016 vote to leave the EU.