It comes as the prime minister sets up a possible Brexit showdown in the Supreme Court after it emerged No 10 is ready to launch a legal fight against the anti-no deal legislation.
Mr Johnson is also reportedly ready to send a second letter to the EU – alongside the request for a three-month delay required of him – explaining he does not actually want any delay after 31 October. Labour figures branded the plan “illegal” and “monumentally ridiculous”.
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Boris Johnson is reportedly ready to send a second letter to the EU - alongside the formal request for a three-month Brexit delay required of him by the Benn bill - explaining that he does not actually want any delay after 31 October.
Labour figures branded the scheme, first revealed in The Daily Telegraph, both “ridiculous” and illegal.
Charlie Falconer, the former Lord Chancellor, said any attempt to destroy the “statutory purpose” of the letter to Brussels requested of the PM would be to “break law”.
Labour’s shadow solicitor general Nick Thomas-Symonds said the idea of sending two conflicting letters was “monumentally ridiculous”.
The battle for Brexit is heading for a nail-biting showdown in the Supreme Court in late October. Our deputy political editor Rob Merrick has all the details.
Tory MP Nigel Evans said Boris Johnson is more likely to call for a vote of no confidence in his own government or force an election via another means than to go to Brussels to ask for an Article 50 extension.
The joint executive secretary of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs told the Today programme: “I cannot see under the current circumstances Boris Johnson going to Brussels and asking for that extension.”
Boris Johnson is travelling to Dublin today for his first official meeting with the Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar.
When he returns to London he is expected to ramp up the pressure on MPs to back a snap general election, before the suspension of parliament happens at some point in the coming days.
An opposition law, dubbed the Benn bill after Labour MP Hilary Benn, that would extend the Brexit deadline until January 2020 is expected to receive royal assent before prorogation kicks-in.
On Sunday, Johnson bunkered down in Chevening, the foreign secretary’s country residence, with his closest aides, understood to have included chief strategist Dominic Cummings, where he is understood to have wargamed how the crucial week ahead could pan out.
Tory rebel David Gauke – leader of the so-called “Gaukeward squad” now expelled from the party – said the idea of sending two conflicting letters to the EU “carries no weight”.
He thinks the Benn bill set to receive royal assent today would not allow Boris Johnson to write that second, conflicting letter.
A former Supreme Court justice has also said it would not be legal for Boris Johnson to apply for a Brexit extension while simultaneously trying to get the EU to reject it in a second letter.
Lord Sumption was asked if it would be legal for the PM to do so.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “No, of course it wouldn’t. The Bill, or Act as it’s about to become, says that he’s got to apply for an extension. Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension.
“To send the letter and then try to neutralise it seems to me, plainly, a breach of the Act. What you’ve got to realise is the courts are not very fond of loopholes.”
Reports over the weekend suggested Northern Ireland secretary Julian Smith was one of the cabinet members considering following Amber Rudd and quitting government. But he has dismissed those rumours.
The latest ComRes survey suggests why Boris Johnson’s team are so desperate for a snap election.
It shows the Tories would be three points ahead of Labour if a general election were held before 31 October 31.
But if the PM does not deliver the “do or die” pledge to deliver Brexit by then, Labour would be on 28 per cent to the Tories’ 26 per cent – with the Brexit Party suddenly resurgent.
There is better news for No 10 in a YouGov poll, which gives the Tories a 14-point lead over Labour, while an Opinion survey puts the Conservatives 10 points ahead.
Yet Deltapoll’s latest survey shows only a three-point lead. Britain Elects has compiled the latest numbers.
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