October 22, 2019 / 11:41 AM / 20 days ago

No-deal more likely if lawmakers reject Brexit timetable vote: Johnson's spokesman

LONDON (Reuters) - A failure to pass a timetable for getting legislation in place for Britain’s departure from the European Union on Oct. 31 increases the risk of the country leaving without an agreement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said on Tuesday.

Johnson is battling to get the legislation, called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, through parliament to try to meet his deadline for quitting the EU at the end of October.

But opposition lawmakers fear they are not being given enough time to make their decision, which will be the biggest shift in British policy in more than 40 years, and may vote against the government’s tight timetable as set out in a so-called program motion.

“Voting down a program motion has serious implications. It means legislation can drift on and on ... Voting down the program motion risks handing control over the situation to the European Union and therefore making no deal more likely,” he said.

“If the program motion is passed then we have a clear path to leave the EU with a deal on Oct. 31. If the program motion is not passed, and we cannot guarantee having a deal completed by October 31st, there is no guarantee the EU will grant an extension.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Stephen Addison

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