Brexit transition period will not be extended: United Kingdom PM Johnson

Reuters London Nov 15, 2019, 02.17 PM(IST)

File photo Photograph:( AFP )

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Britons will vote on December 12 after parliament agreed to an early election

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain will "absolutely guarantee" that his government will not extend the Brexit transition period before the end of year.

"I don't want an extension," Johnson told the BBC. "If we can get a working majority, all we need is 9 more seats, then can absolutely guarantee" not seeking an extension.

Britons will vote on December 12 after parliament agreed to an early election, seeking to end three years of deep disagreement over Brexit that has sapped investors' faith in the stability of the world's fifth-largest economy and damaged Britain's international standing.

"The UK is admired and respected around the world but people are baffled by our debate on Brexit and they cannot understand how this great country can squander so much time and energy on this question and how we can be so hesitant about our future," Johnson will say at an electric vehicle manufacturer in the West Midlands, according to prepared remarks.

"If we can get a working majority we can get parliament working for you, we can get out of the rut. We can end the groundhoggery of Brexit," Johnson said in an apparent reference to the 1993 movie Groundhog Day in which a TV weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again.

Johnson, 55, hopes to win a majority to push through the last-minute Brexit deal he struck with the European Union last month after the bloc granted the third delay to the divorce that was originally supposed to take place on March 29. Most voters who took part in a June 2016 referendum voted in favour of the UK leaving the EU.

The first December election in Britain since 1923 will be one of the hardest to forecast in years. Brexit has scrambled voters' traditional loyalties and is giving smaller rivals a chance to challenge the two biggest parties, Johnson's Conservative Party and the left-of-centre Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn.

Opinion polls show the Conservatives are well ahead of Labour, but analysts caution the overshadowing issue of Brexit, which has divided both major parties and their voters, could confound conventional calculations.