BIRMINGHAM, England (Reuters) - Boris Johnson, Britain’s former foreign minister, has told senior members of the governing Conservative Party he would delay Brexit by at least six months if he became prime minister, the Sun newspaper said on Monday.
The Sun reported that Johnson had been privately setting out his leadership platform to some ministers in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and said he wanted to use a pause to reset the stalled Brexit negotiations.
Reuters could not confirm the report, which Guy Verhofstad, a leading EU lawmaker dealing with Brexit, referred to on Tuesday, saying: “A prolongation of Art. 50, as Boris Johnson suggested, is a bad idea as it will prolong the uncertainty for citizens & businesses.”
The European Parliament, as well as the British one, must sign off on any Brexit deal agreed between May and the other 27 EU national leaders.
Article 50 is the EU’s mechanism for leaving the bloc and it has a two-year limit. Britain formally triggered it in March 2017 and is due to leave the bloc next March. Any extension would require unanimity of the remaining EU states.
Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper and Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Janet Lawrence