Boris Johnson rules out early election amid European resistance to Brexit plan

Boris Johnson has "absolutely" ruled out calling a general election before the UK leaves the European Union on October 31.

His comments came as he faces mounting European resistance to his call for the Brexit deal to be renegotiated.

The Prime Minister has made clear the deal thrashed out by Brussels with Theresa May is dead and he will take the UK out of the EU on Halloween, with or without a new agreement.

But Ireland claimed he has put the UK on a "collision course" with the EU, while France stressed the existing deal will not be renegotiated.

Opposition from the EU to reopening the draft deal coupled with parliamentary resistance to a no-deal Brexit had fuelled speculation that Mr Johnson will go to the country in an effort to secure an outright majority in the Commons.

But Mr Johnson, speaking during a visit to Birmingham, said: "The British people voted in 2015, in 2016, in 2017.

"What they want us to do is deliver on their mandate, come out of the EU on October 31.

"They don't want another electoral event, they don't want a referendum, they don't want a general election.

"They want us to deliver."

Mr Johnson said he would "absolutely not" call for another vote.

Asked if he could reassure "Brenda from Bristol", who famously showed exasperation at then-prime minister Mrs May's 2017 snap general election announcement, Mr Johnson said: "Brenda from Bristol, everyone – absolutely, absolutely."

Mr Johnson has spoken to Europe's key powerbrokers since taking office but has been told the Brexit deal will not be reopened.

In calls to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he set out that the only way to make progress on a deal is to "abolish the backstop" – the contingency measure aimed at keeping the Irish border open if no other solution is found.

Critics claim it keeps the UK indefinitely tied to the EU's trading rules.

During the calls Mr Johnson was invited to visit Paris and Berlin for further talks.

But French Europe Minister Amelie de Montchalin stressed Paris's opposition to renegotiating the deal.

"We have to be very clear on that," she told France 2. "We've always said that if the UK wants to leave the EU, and if it wants to do it in an orderly manner, the best thing we have is the agreement."

She said the "divorce agreement" had not been "imposed on the British" but was the result of painstaking negotiation.

"It's two years of work between Michel Barnier's team in Brussels and the British team to set out point by point, pragmatically, in a realistic and concrete manner, how we can mark that there is a before and an after.

"It's not us who want there to be a before and an after. What we're trying to say is that in this agreement we are saying 'Here is how we separate' and for me the key, what I'd like to do in the weeks to come, is to pass that stage and negotiate calmly how we can work afterwards."

Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney said Mr Johnson's comments in the Commons on Thursday setting out his Brexit plans were "very unhelpful".

He added: "He seems to have made a deliberate decision to set Britain on a collision course with the European Union and with Ireland in relation to the Brexit negotiations.

"I think only he can answer the question as to why he is doing that."

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson's overhaul of the Government continued, leading to warnings from departing ministers about the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

Lord Bourne quit as faith minister saying "I cannot accept a no-deal".

And Tobias Ellwood warned the Tories face being out of power for a decade if they were responsible for a no-deal exit from the EU.

He told PA "pure Brexiteers" on the Tory benches want a no-deal scenario but "the damage to our economy will send our party into opposition for a decade".

But Mr Johnson has been warned by Tory hardliners that he must keep to his October 31 promise or face "disaster".

Ardent Eurosceptic Steve Baker turned down an offer to join his Government because he fears being sidelined over Brexit policy.

He insisted he has "total confidence" in the Prime Minister to deliver on his commitment to meet the October 31 deadline, but, in a sign that the European Research Group of Brexiteers will force him to keep the pledge, Mr Baker said: "Disaster awaits otherwise."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "That is obviously a decision for Steve Baker. He set out is full confidence in the PM delivering on his pledge that the UK will the EU on October 31."

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Boris Johnson becomes PM
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Boris Johnson becomes PM
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson is welcomed into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is clapped into 10 Downing Street by staff after seeing Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
New Prime Minister Boris Johnson's partner Carrie Symonds waits for him to make a speech outside 10 Downing Street, London, after meeting Queen Elizabeth II and accepting her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Protesters outside 10 Downing Street, London, awaiting the arrival of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace in London, following an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
LONDON — Boris Johnson was due to enter 10 Downing St. as Britain's new prime minister on Wednesday, vowing to lead the U.K. out of the European Union and unite a country deeply divided over Brexit.It's a tall order. Johnson has just 99 days to make good on his promise to deliver Brexit by Oct. 31, "come what may."The former mayor of London and foreign secretary is getting Britain's top job in politics after winning a contest to lead the governing Conservative Party.Famed for his bravado, quips in Latin and blond mop of hair, Johnson easily defeated Conservative rival Jeremy Hunt, winning two-thirds of the votes of about 160,000 party members across the U.K.He replaces Theresa May, who announced her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement she struck with the 28-nation bloc, leaving Britain stranded in Brexit limbo as the U.K.'s departure from the EU was delayed past its long-scheduled March exit date.Johnson was taking office in a day of carefully choreographed political drama that began with May attending the weekly Prime Minister's Questions period in the House of Commons for the last time.The usually boisterous session was subdued, with Conservative colleagues praising May's sense of duty and opposition leaders offering best wishes, while aiming their fire at her replacement. May just shook her head when Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn asked if she would help him stop "the reckless plans of her successor," who has vowed to leave the EU if necessary without a Brexit divorce deal.May offered Johnson slightly muted praise, saying she was pleased to hand over to a Conservative committed to "delivering on the vote of the British people in 2016 and to delivering a bright future for this country."And she fired back at Corbyn: "As a party leader who has accepted when her time was up, perhaps the time is now for him to do the same?"As she left the Commons chamber, May was given a standing ovation by Conservative lawmakers, many of whom helped bring her down by rejecting her Brexit deal.After saying goodbye to Downing Street staff, May stood outside the prime minister's residence and spoke publicly for the last time as Britain's leader.With husband, Philip, by her side, May said it had been "the greatest honour" to serve as prime minister.Reminding her successor of the risks posed by a disruptive Brexit, May said the new government's priority must be "to complete our exit from the European Union in a way that works for the whole United Kingdom."May and her husband then travelled by ministerial Jaguar the mile (1.6 kilometres) to Buckingham Palace to advise Queen Elizabeth II to ask Johnson to form a new government. The palace confirmed in a statement that the 93-year-old monarch had accepted May's resignation.May left the palace after a half-hour. Moments later, Johnson's car swept through the gates of the royal residence. He will be the 14th prime minister of the queen's 67-year reign.There was a brief hiccup in the smooth handover when environmental protesters blocked Johnson's car by forming a human chain across the road outside the palace. They were quickly bundled aside by his police escort.Greenpeace said its activists had tried to hand Johnson a letter calling for strong action against climate change.Later, Johnson is to give a speech outside 10 Downing St., giving Britons a glimpse at his priorities and policy plans.Then the real battle starts.Johnson has vowed that Britain will leave the EU on the currently scheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a deal on departure terms. Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession, and the EU is adamant that the deal it made with May will not be renegotiated.Chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said "we are ready to listen and to work with" Johnson, but did not budge on the bloc's refusal to alter the deal."A no-deal Brexit will never be, never, the choice of the EU. But we are prepared," he said in Brussels.Johnson, whose personal brand is built on optimism — and, critics say, an ambiguous relationship with facts — promised Tuesday to deliver Brexit "in a new spirit of can do.""I say to all the doubters: 'Dude, we are going to energize the country, we are going to get Brexit done,'" he said.To succeed, Johnson must win over the many Britons opposed to Brexit and resistant to his blustering charms.In a sign he hopes to move beyond the largely white, male and affluent Conservative members who chose him as their leader, Johnson's office said his government would be a "Cabinet for modern Britain" with more women and a record number of ministers from ethnic minorities.His administration is also set to include some pro-EU politicians, but many members will be strong Brexit supporters like Johnson. One of his senior advisers is set to be Dominic Cummings, lead strategist for the "Vote Leave" campaign in the 2016 EU membership referendum.A contentious figure, Cummings was found to be in contempt of Parliament earlier this year for refusing to give evidence to a committee of lawmakers investigating "fake news."Several senior members of May's government who oppose a no-deal Brexit resigned Wednesday before they could be fired by Johnson. Treasury chief Philip Hammond, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart and Justice Secretary David Gauke all quit, along with David Lidington, who was May's deputy prime minister."Given Boris's stated policy of leaving the EU by October 31 at all costs, I am not willing to serve in his government," Gauke said in his resignation letter.___Follow AP's full coverage of Brexit and the Conservative Party leadership race at: https://www.apnews.com/BrexitJill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson, center, arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be formally invited to become Prime Minister, Wednesday July 24, 2019. Boris Johnson will replace May as Prime Minister later Wednesday, following her resignation last month after Parliament repeatedly rejected the Brexit withdrawal agreement she struck with the European Union. (Yui Mok/pool via AP)
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace in London, for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where he will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Boris Johnson leaves Whitehall before a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II where he will accept her invitation to become Prime Minister and form a new government.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, on the day it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson (left) with Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis as he arrives at Conservative party HQ in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
Boris Johnson speaks at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London after being announced as the new Conservative party leader and next Prime Minister.
Newly elected leader of the Conservative party Boris Johnson leaves his office in Westminster, London, after it was announced that he had won the leadership ballot and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London as it was announced Mr Johnson is the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
Jeremy Hunt (left) congratulates Boris Johnson at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where he was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
(left to right) Lucia Hunt, Jeremy Hunt, congratulating Boris Johnson and Sir Edward Lister, at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London where Mr Johnson was announced as the new Conservative party leader, and will become the next Prime Minister.
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