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France: EU won't approve Brexit delay amid major no-deal prep underway

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Getty

France declared that it, as well as the European Union, will not allow Britain to have an extension beyond the 31 October Brexit deadline.

In an interview with Europe 1 radio, France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said: “It’s very worrying. The British must tell us what they want. We are not going to do (extend) this every three months.”

Britain was originally meant to leave the EU on 29 March this year, but former prime minister Theresa May secured an extension with the bloc to try and push her Brexit deal through parliament. That extension was until 31 October this year.

READ MORE: France to treat Britain 'like South Africa' in no-deal Brexit dress rehearsal

However, during the period from 29 March until now, she suffered several rejections in parliament for her deal and subsequently stepped down as leader of the Conservative party and therefore as prime minister.

Boris Johnson was then voted in as leader of the Conservatives — by members of the party, not the public — and thereby became the new prime minister.

But MPs want are voting to block no-deal Brexit and to extend the deadline?

Boris Johnson. Photo: Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images

The EU has repeatedly said that it will not renegotiate the deal it sealed with May — the deal Johnson has now inherited. For any extensions or deals to go forward, all remaining 27 nations in the EU have to agree unanimously.

Johnson is a staunch Brexiteer who has campaigned to leave the EU since the announcement of the referendum. He has been the most willing Conservative to drag the UK out of the bloc without a deal.

Next week MPs will vote again on whether the UK will have another general election. Earlier this week, politicians blocked UK prime minister Boris Johnson’s bid to call a snap election after he suffered a brutal defeat at the hands of members of parliament who tried to block a no-deal Brexit. They are also seeking to delay Brexit if a deal cannot be reached before the current deadline.

The current climate between MPs is that they don’t like the deal on the table but they don’t want a no-deal Brexit.

However, even if UK politicians say they will block Johnson from a no-deal Brexit and vote to extend the Brexit deadline — it comes down to whether the EU will grant those actions.

READ MORE: UK issues veiled threat to France over no-deal Brexit plans

This weekend, former Brexit secretary and now foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the government will "test to the limit" a new law designed to force it to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if a deal is not reached by 19 October. Prime minister Johnson was earlier warned he could face legal action if he defied the law.

Last month, the UK government issued a veiled threat over French fishing rights in British waters, as a minister called for more “generous” rights for Brits in France after Brexit.

Meanwhile, over the last couple of months countries, especially France due to it’s infrastructure ties with Britain like the Eurotunnel, has stepped up no-deal preparations.

At the end of August, it was announced that tens of thousands of French firms trading with Britain will face a one-month “dress rehearsal” for a no-deal Brexit.