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Fears of more resignations over Johnson stance on a no-deal Brexit

Focused: Julian Smith
Focused: Julian Smith

By Patrick Daly

Westminster is on resignation watch after reports that Boris Johnson is setting himself up for an explosive Supreme Court battle over a no-deal Brexit.

A law drafted by Opposition figures demanding the Brexit deadline is extended to January 2020 to avoid Britain leaving the European Union without a deal is expected to receive Royal Assent this week.

But the Prime Minister is threatening to disobey the terms and push ahead with his plan to keep no-deal on the table when he meets fellow leaders at the European Council summit on October 17.

Mr Johnson has said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than ask the EU for an extension beyond the Halloween deadline. The Conservative leader buttoned down on his position further at the weekend, telling The Mail On Sunday: "I refuse to accept (Jeremy) Corbyn's pointless delay."

His stance has led to speculation that more front bench ministers could walk out on the Government.

Amber Rudd sensationally quit the Cabinet and the Tory Party on Saturday, citing concerns over Mr Johnson's approach to the Brexit negotiations. She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that "not enough work is going into actually getting a deal".

The former Work and Pensions Secretary's resignation set off alarm bells that more ministers could follow.

Those rumoured yesterday to be considering quitting included Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith. But a source close to Mr Smith told the Daily Mail: "He's not going to resign. He's entirely focused on representing the people of Northern Ireland at the Cabinet table."

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland declared on Twitter that "speculation about my future is wide of the mark".

Yet the QC's comments to Mr Johnson in private about the rule of law have been read as a shot across the bows and a warning that he will not tolerate the PM breaching Parliament statute.

Belfast Telegraph


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