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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says Brexit deal chances are rising

Key Points
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson argues the U.K. should not delay its exit from the European Union. 
  • In a statement following an emergency meeting with his cabinet, Johnson urges members not to vote this week for legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.
  • The prime minister says he does not want a general election. 
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech at 10 Downing Street on September 2, 2019 in London, England.
Chris J Ratcliffe | Getty Images

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that chances of striking a deal to leave the European Union have increased as he insisted Britain would not delay its exit from the bloc again.

In a statement following an emergency meeting with his cabinet, Johnson urged members not to vote this week for legislation to block a no-deal Brexit. In that scenario, the U.K. would leave the EU without an agreement in place for exactly how the breakup would work.

Casting any more delays as "pointless," the prime minister said "we will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises and scrub" Britain's referendum vote in favor of leaving the EU. Britain is due to leave the bloc on Oct. 31.

"We're leaving on the 31st of October, no ifs or buts. We will not accept any attempts to go back on our promises," he said.

The pound dropped against the dollar earlier Monday amid speculation that Johnson could call for a general election if opposition lawmakers vote against a no-deal Brexit this week. But the prime minister said he hoped to resolve the U.K.'s messy divorce from the EU without a snap election.

"I don't want an election. You don't want an election," Johnson said.

Sterling dipped slightly against the dollar following his remarks. The BBC later reported that Johnson is expected to call a general election if his plan fails in Parliament.

Johnson, who succeeded Theresa May as prime minister in July amid her struggles to strike a Brexit agreement, said he was "encouraged" by recent progress. He argued "the chances of a deal have been rising."

Johnson said negotiators in Brussels believe the U.K. wants a deal and has a "clear vision" for its future relationship with the EU.

The prime minister contended efforts to block a no-deal Brexit would hurt the U.K.'s negotiating position in the coming weeks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pushed to stop the U.K. from leaving the EU without a deal in place. In a speech Monday, he said "this week could be our last chance" to stop a no-deal Brexit.

He claimed breaking from the EU without an agreement would lead to "a one-sided United States trade deal that will put us at the mercy of Donald Trump and the biggest American corporations." The U.S. president has said he wants a major bilateral trade deal with the U.K. once it leaves the European single market.

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