September 26, 2019 / 8:12 PM / 22 days ago

UK's Johnson may use 'political chicanery' to bypass Brexit delay law: Ex-PM Major

Britain's former Prime Minister John Major arrives for the memorial service for Lord Paddy Ashdown at Westminster Abbey, London, Britain September 10, 2019. Chris J Ratcliffe/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Boris Johnson might try “political chicanery” to bypass a law forcing him to delay Brexit if he cannot agree terms with the European Union in time for an Oct. 31 departure, former prime minister John Major said on Thursday.

Johnson has vowed that Britain will leave the EU by that date whether or not he has able to come to a withdrawal agreement with the European Union that parliament will accept.

However, an alliance of opposition lawmakers and rebels from Johnson’s Conservative Party forced through a law earlier this month which compels him to delay Brexit for three months if he has not agreed a deal by Oct. 19.

Despite this, Johnson has continued to state that Britain would depart the bloc on Oct. 31. “We will, of course, obey the law and we will come out of the EU on 31 October,” he told parliament on Wednesday.

In a speech on Thursday, former Conservative premier Major said he feared Johnson would try to bypass the law by using an “Order of Council” to suspend it until after the Brexit deadline.

“It is important to note that an Order of Council can be passed by Privy Councillors – that is government ministers – without involving HM (Her Majesty) The Queen,” Mayor said.

“It would be a piece of political chicanery that no-one should ever forgive or forget.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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