- UK government minister Michael Gove has said the UK will leave the EU on its stated deadline of October 31, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson requesting a three-month delay.
- Gove said sticking to the Halloween deadline was the government’s “determined policy.”
- Gove’s comments come hours after Johnson wrote to EU leaders asking for a three-month extension.
- Johnson was obliged to seek a Brexit delay from the EU on Saturday after Parliament blocked a vote on his deal.
Government minister Michael Gove has said the UK will leave the European Union on its stated deadline of October 31, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson writing to the bloc on Saturday to request a delay beyond that date.
“Yes, that’s our determined policy,” Gove told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday. “We know that the European Union wants us to leave, we know we have a deal that allows us to leave.”
Gove is the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and is overseeing the government’s no-deal preparations. He added: “We are going to leave by October 31, we have the means and the ability to do so.
“The mood in the country is clear, and the prime minister’s determination is absolute, and I am with him on this. We must leave on the 31st of October.”
Gove’s remarks come hours after Boris Johnson wrote to the EU requesting an extension to the UK’s October 31 deadline. Johnson’s letter was addressed to European Council President Donald Tusk and requests a three-month delay to Brexit.
Johnson has previously said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than delay Brexit beyond October 31, but was forced to request the extension after Parliament blocked a vote on his deal with the EU on Saturday. Tusk has acknowledged receipt of the letter, and said he would consult other EU leaders on “how to react.”
Gove said: “That letter was sent because Parliament required it to be sent but… Parliament can insist the letter was sent but Parliament can’t change the prime minister’s mind, Parliament can’t change the government’s policy or determination and the prime minister is very clear – and so are European Union leaders – they want this done.”
Gove said his strong preference was to leave with a deal, but added that the risk of the UK crashing out without a deal, likely an economic disaster for the country, had risen.
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