Johnson Won't Resign If Exit Day Is Delayed: Brexit Update

(Bloomberg) — U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested he won’t quit if he fails in his defining mission to deliver Brexit by the end of October. In an interview on Sunday morning with the BBC, he refused to back down over his use of military terms to describe the opposition to his Brexit strategy, while facing questions over his alleged links to a businesswoman who received state funding.

Key Developments:

Johnson tells BBC there is a “good chance” of a Brexit deal Raab suggests law blocking no-deal might not apply Government accuses opponents of colluding with the European UnionJohnson to conduct Brexit negotiations by phone during conferenceGovernment pledges to build 40 new hospitals

Johnson: No Interest to Declare Over Businesswoman (10 a.m.)

The prime minister refused to engage with questions about his links to an American former model and entrepreneur while he was London Mayor. He is alleged to have authorized taxpayer-funded sponsorship for Jennifer Arcuri’s fledgling technology business and allowed her to accompany delegations on foreign visits despite her business being ineligible.

Johnson told the BBC simply that there had been no impropriety. “I am very, very proud of everything we did and everything I did as mayor of London,” he said. Asked if he had declared his links with Arcuri in the register of interests, he replied: “There was no interest to declare.”

Johnson Won’t Quit If Brexit Is Delayed (9:50 a.m.)

In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Boris Johnson suggested he wouldn’t resign if Brexit negotiations are extended beyond the Oct. 31 deadline, despite making it a key commitment to deliver the U.K.’s divorce from the EU by that date, without a deal if needed.

“I’ve undertaken to lead my country and party at a difficult time and I am going to do that,” Johnson said. He declined to comment on questions about whether he’d been in discussions with other EU leaders to ask one of them to veto any extension to the deadline. Instead he added, “I do think there is a good chance” of the U.K. reaching an agreement with the bloc.

The premier again defended his use of what critics say is inflammatory language in the Brexit debate. “Martial metaphors, military metaphors are are very old standard parliamentary practice,” he said. Johnson said he thought “everybody” should calm down, adding that he was being a “model of restraint.”

“The best thing for the country and the best thing for people’s overall psychological health would be to get Brexit done.”

Expelled Tory Gauke Criticizes ‘Collusion’ Narrative (9 a.m.)

Former Justice Secretary David Gauke, expelled from the Tories for voting in favor of the Benn Act (see 8.30 a.m.) rejected the idea he’d worked with EU officials to draft the bill, and said the allegation was another example of Johnson’s office using inflammatory language.

“You have a very good example of a Number 10 briefing using the word collusion — that’s a very loaded word itself — and providing no evidence that there was anything supporting this statement,” Gauke told Sky News.

That “feeds into this narrative that anyone who doesn’t agree with Number 10’s is somehow unpatriotic or betraying the country, or an enemy or walking the country to surrender.”

Hancock: ‘All Sides’ Must Moderate Language (8:45 a.m.)

Johnson’s team is facing persistent questions over his use of terms such as “surrender” and “capitulation” to describe the efforts of his opponents to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson’s critics say he is fueling abuse and escalating the risk of violence against MPs with his inflammatory words. The prime minister is refusing to back down, saying he won’t be bullied.

On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the use of the term “surrender” to describe a new law intended to ban a no-deal Brexit. But in a veiled rebuke to Johnson, he said “it’s incumbent on all sides” to moderate their language.

“All of us get over-excited from time to time,” Hancock told Sky News. “My judgment is we absolutely should use language that tries to bring people together.”

Tories Gather to ‘Get Brexit Done’ (8:30 a.m.)

Under the banner ‘Get Brexit Done’ the Tories are meeting in Manchester, North West England, amid a fresh row over whether Johnson can get round a law instructing him to seek a delay to Brexit if he hasn’t reached a deal by Oct. 19.

In an interview with the Mail on Sunday Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suggested that the government could use EU law to override the so-called Benn Act, passed earlier this month. Politicians who are seeking to stop Britain leaving the bloc without a deal have been accused of foreign collusion by using the French Embassy as a base for discussions.

In other developments on Sunday morning:

The government is committing to build 40 new hospitals, the kind of pledge that adds to the impression that it expects to fight an election soon.Alongside domestic policy announcements this week, Johnson will also be spending considerable time on the phone to European leaders during the conference and Brexit negotiations will accelerate, his office said.Johnson apologized to Queen Elizabeth II after the Supreme Court ruled that he shouldn’t have asked her to suspend Parliament, the Sunday Times reported.Despite publicly saying they would back Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as an interim prime minister in a government of national unity, the Scottish National Party are in secret talks to find an alternative, according to the Sunday Times.Labour Treasury spokesman John McDonnell has written to the Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill calling for an investigation into whether Tory Party donors who backed Johnson have a financial interest in the U.K. leaving the EU without a deal.

Earlier:

U.K.’s New Brexit Deal Gambit May Emerge as Early as Next Week

Police Watchdog Asked to Investigate Johnson by London Official

EU Is Losing Faith in Johnson’s Ability to Bridge Brexit Gulf

Sturgeon Urges Parliament to Remove Boris Johnson: Brexit Update

To contact the reporters on this story: Kitty Donaldson in Manchester at kdonaldson1@bloomberg.net;Robert Hutton in London at rhutton1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Ross at tross54@bloomberg.net

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