French minister: New Jan. 31 Brexit date ‘not negotiable’

International

A Union flag waves against the backdrop of the clock facade of the Elizabeth Tower, which holds the bell known as “Big Ben”, in London, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage is trying to ramp up the pressure on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He warned that his Brexit Party will run against the Conservatives across the country in the Dec. 12 general election unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the European Union. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

PARIS (AP) — A French minister says the new Brexit date of Jan. 31 “is not negotiable” and “the risk of a no-deal Brexit remains.”

Minister for European Affairs Amelie de Montchalin tells Europe 1 radio on Sunday that she’s advising French companies to continue preparing for a scenario in which Britain leaves the bloc on Jan. 31 without a divorce deal,despite getting a three-month Brexit extension from the European Union.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised to take Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31 with or without a deal but the British Parliament blocked his plans. Now Britain is holding a Dec. 12 election and Johnson hopes to get a more Brexit-friendly Parliament.

Montchalin defended France’s earlier fight not to extend the Brexit deadline, saying French businesses and families needed “clarity” on the issue.

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