A Scottish court on Monday declined a request from campaigners to force British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the nation’s departure from the European Union if no deal is reached by the end of the month.
The group, which included lawmaker Joanna Cherry, petitioned Edinburgh’s Court of Session to impose a legal mandate for Johnson to delay the exit in case there’s no agreement to leave by Oct. 31. The court ruled such a step isn’t necessary, as the prime minister has already said he’d comply with the recently passed Benn Act — which requires a three-month delay if no deal is present by Oct. 19.
Johnson, however, has also insisted that Britain will leave the EU on Oct. 31, despite the fact no deal yet exists and some observers don’t expect one anytime soon.
The group said it plans to appeal the court’s decision.
Johnson’s government also promised not to campaign for EU member states to reject a proposed delay.
Petitioners’ attorney Aidan O’Neil argued Johnson was “not naturally an honest man” and said the campaigners had a “reasonable apprehension” that he would not comply with the Benn Act if Oct. 19 passes without an agreement.
Johnson offered new assurances Monday that there will be a deal.
“We will respect the law, and we will leave the EU on Oct. 31,” he said. “Clearly, that’s what the people of this country voted for. I think most people want just to get Brexit done. It’s been going on for a long time now.”
Last week, negotiators met in Belgium and reports of a leaked proposal said Johnson’s government is favoring customs stations on both sides of the Irish border as an alternative to the backstop.