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World U.K.’s Johnson declines to comment on plan to send lawmakers away before no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson, a leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Party, gestures during a hustings event in London, Britain July 17, 2019.

PETER NICHOLLS/Reuters

Boris Johnson, favourite to be the next British Prime minister, declined to comment on a report that he was exploring a plan that could ease a no-deal Brexit but agreed it could be convenient for him.

Sky News reported on Tuesday that Johnson is considering holding the Queen’s Speech, where a prime minister lays out their policy program, in November. That means lawmakers would be sent home two weeks earlier, hindering their ability to stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

The news sent an already weak sterling lower on Tuesday, and down below $1.24 for the first time since April 2017.

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“I’m not going to comment on our program,” Johnson said, asked at a hustings event when he would introduce a Queen’s Speech.

Asked about the convenience of a November Queen’s Speech, he said, “I’m not going to dissent from you. That seems like a reasonable point.”

Johnson, likely to be announced as the winner of the Conservative Party leadership race next Tuesday, and therefore the next prime minister, has said he wants to secure a withdrawal deal with the EU but is prepared to leave without one if necessary.

Britain is due to leave the bloc on Oct. 31. He told the hustings event for party members on Wednesday that he was willing to negotiate with the EU but, if faced with a lack of flexibility or compromise, Britain would have to leave regardless.

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