World / Politics

Boris Johnson reportedly will challenge queen to fire him

Bloomberg, Reuters

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is prepared to challenge Queen Elizabeth II to dismiss him rather than resign as he attempts to push through Brexit by the Oct. 31 deadline, the Sunday Times reported, citing senior aides.

Johnson would not step aside if his Brexit proposals were rejected by the European Union, and even if members of the U.K. Parliament declare no confidence in his government and agree to a caretaker prime minister to replace him, according to the report.

Failure to reach a deal would set the U.K. on a course for constitutional showdown with few precedents: Johnson has promised to pull the country out of the EU on Oct. 31 whether the talks succeed, while Parliament has already legislated to prevent him from taking U.K. out of the European bloc without a withdrawal agreement.

“Unless the police turn up at the doors of 10 Downing Street with a warrant for the prime minister’s arrest, he won’t be leaving,” one senior Conservative said in the report.

The last time a British monarch fired a prime minister was in 1834, it said.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is meanwhile seeking a meeting with Johnson in the coming week, stressing on Saturday that time is tight for London to go further with the fresh Brexit proposals it presented earlier in the week.

With less than a month until its scheduled exit, Johnson is seeking significant changes to how the most contentious issue — the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland — was dealt with in the divorce deal agreed by his predecessor, Theresa May, almost a year ago.

However the European Union and Ireland said on Thursday that the proposals were unlikely to yield a deal, with Dublin bluntly warning Britain was heading toward a no-deal exit unless it made more concessions.

“We are in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with Prime Minister Johnson next week,” Varadkar told reporters. “Time is tight. We have a European summit on Oct. 17 and 18, and it’s not reasonable to expect 27 or 28 heads of government to decide and sign off on something they only see the night before or two days before.”

The prime minister of Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said he told Johnson in a telephone call on Saturday that it was important to find a solution within a week, in time for the summit.

“Johnson stated that he agreed with the timetable and understood that the conditions I presented regarding upholding the Good Friday (Northern Irish peace) Agreement, maintaining the unity of the EU and ensuring a functional internal market are a prerequisite for a solution,” Prime Minister Antti Rinne said in a statement.

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5