U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will pull his Brexit bill if members of Parliament vote down the accelerated timetable for the legislation and the exit day is delayed until January or later.
The prime minister told the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon that in those circumstances, he would instead push once more for a general election in order to “get Brexit done.”
MPs are set to vote on Tuesday evening on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill ― the legislation that writes Johnson’s Brexit deal into U.K. law. They will be also asked to vote on a motion that would fast-track the bill through the House of Commons in just three days.
Opposition MPs have complained that the timetable is not long enough to properly scrutinize the 110-page bill, and Johnson’s government is braced to lose the second vote.
Speaking in the Commons, Johnson said approving the motion was the only way to ensure the U.K. leaves the European Union on Oct. 31, as he promised.
“I will in no way allow months more of this,” he said. “If Parliament refuses to allow Brexit to happen and instead gets its way and decides to delay leaving until January or possibly longer, in no circumstances can the government continue with this.”
He added: “With great regret I must say the bill will have to be pulled and we will have to go forward to a general election.”
The prime minister’s comments leave open the possibility he could accept a shorter technical extension to Article 50 between now and the New Year to push his legislation through the Commons.
EU leaders are waiting to see the outcome of Tuesday’s votes in London before deciding what, if any, extension to offer.