“@BorisJohnson’s Tories are soaring in polls after his remarkable decision to defend his people against the parliamentary elite! The Brexit rocket has taken off,” Mr Philippot, head of the populist The Patriots party, said in a Twitter post. In a separate post published on Saturday, Mr Philippot said Mr Johnson’s firm stance on Brexit would force the Brussels bloc to “yield to all” his demands. “@BorisJohnson is leading the EU by the nose,” he said. Mr Philippot has repeatedly called for a French referendum on European Union membership and cheered a Brexit vote he hopes can boost his party’s anti-Brussels agenda.
His comments follow Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for more than a month before Brexit, on a day between September 9 and September 12 until October 14.
The move, which has been approved by Queen Elizabeth, limits the time opponents have to derail a disorderly Brexit but also increases the chance Mr Johnson could face a vote of no-confidence in his government, and possibly an early election.
Asked last week whether he was seeking to block MPs from delaying Brexit by limiting their flexibility, he replied: “That is completely untrue”.
“There will be ample time in parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues, ample time,” he told reporters.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly warned that his efforts to strike a new divorce deal with the EU and deliver Brexit by the October 31 deadline would be hampered by any attempt to block a no-deal.
But the decision to prorogue parliament has infuriated opposition lawmakers and some Tory rebels, who are now scrambling to find ways to change the law to force the Johnson government to delay the UK’s departure and prevent a hard, chaotic exit.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to “politically stop” Mr Johnson from pulling the UK out of the bloc without an exit agreement, stressing that a no-deal divorce would be damaging for the economy.
“This country is in danger of crashing out on October 31 with no deal. We have got to stop that,” Mr Corbyn told reporters last week.
Mr Johnson, for his part, told the Sunday Times that the choice for lawmakers was either to side with Mr Corbyn, who wants to “scrub the democratic verdict of the people – and plunge this country into chaos,” or with those who want to “get on with it”.
Mr Corbyn, however, was quoted as saying over the weekend that the fight to stop a no-deal was not a struggle between those who want to leave the EU and those who want to stay, but rather a battle “of the many against the few who are hijacking the referendum result”.
With less than two months to go before the official divorce deadline, it is still unclear on what terms Britain will leave the bloc.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly stated that one of the most hotly contested elements of the divorce agreement – the Irish border backstop – would have to be struck out if there was to be an orderly exit.
The agreement that former prime minister Theresa May struck last November with the EU states that the UK will remain in a customs union “unless and until” alternative arrangements are found to avoid the return of a hard border in Ireland.
But many politicians oppose the prospect of being tied to EU rules and customs duties that would prevent the UK from doing its own trade deals and leave it overseen by EU judges.
Brussels has ruled out renegotiating the withdrawal agreement or the backstop provision within it but has offered to rework the Political Declaration setting out post-Brexit trade terms that may offer a clearer way of avoiding the backstop.
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