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Boris Johnson says he will not negotiate Brexit delay after Commons loss

House of Commons/PA Wire

By Gavin Cordon, Shaun Connolly and Catherine Wylie, PA Political Staff

A defiant Boris Johnson has said he will not negotiate a fresh Brexit delay with the EU despite losing a key Commons vote.

At a special Saturday sitting, MPs voted by 322 to 306 in favour an amendment withholding approval of his Brexit deal until legislation to implement it is in place.

The amendment tabled by former Cabinet minister Sir Oliver Letwin was intended to force him to comply with the so-called Benn Act requiring him to seek a Brexit extension.

But amid noisy Commons scenes, Mr Johnson insisted that he was not "daunted or dismayed" by the result and remained committed to taking Britain out by October 31.

"I will not negotiate a delay with the EU, neither does the law compel me to do so," he said.

Downing Street refused to offer any explanation as to why the Prime Minister did not consider he was obliged to negotiate a fresh amendment.

Asked if previous statements from ministers that the Government would comply with the law still stood, the Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "Governments comply with the law."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn warned Mr Johnson that he could not ignore the provisions of the Benn Act.

"It's an emphatic decision by this House that has declined to back the Prime Minister's deal today and clearly voted to stop a no-deal crash-out from the European Union," he said.

"The Prime Minister must now comply with the law. He can no longer use the threat of a no-deal crash-out to blackmail members to support his sell-out deal."

The SNP leader at Westminster Ian Blackford said that if Mr Johnson acted as if we was "above the law", he would find himself in court.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said: "The most urgent thing right now is the Prime Minister complies with the law."

The European Commissions' chief spokeswoman Mina Andreeva urged the Government "to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible".

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