Queen Elizabeth II gives her formal approval to a law that would force the government to delay Brexit if it is not able to strike a divorce deal with European Union.

A tourist double-decker bus drives past flags hung by pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster in London, Britain, September 9, 2019.
A tourist double-decker bus drives past flags hung by pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit demonstrators outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster in London, Britain, September 9, 2019. (Reuters)

A bill that would force the British prime minister to seek a delay to the October 31 Brexit deadline if no deal is reached became law on Monday with the approval by Queen Elizabeth II.

The royal approval was announced by Norman Fowler, the speaker of the House of Lords.

"EUWithdrawal6Bill receives Royal Assent," the upper chamber said on Twitter, referring to the newly passed law.

The queen's approval was seen as a formality after the bill was approved by parliament. It is opposed by the government.

The law is designed to prevent Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking Britain out of the European Union without an agreement with the other 27 nations in the economic bloc.

Johnson has said he will not seek a delay to the deadline.

Speaker says he will step down

Also on Monday, the speaker of Britain's House of Commons John Bercow said he would step down within weeks, amid criticism by Brexit hardliners who say he has twisted parliamentary rules to undermine them.

Bercow said he would not stand for re-election if MPs vote in favour of an early election later on Monday and would, in any case, resign on October 31, even if they did not.

Suspension of parliament

Earlier Prime Minister Johnson's spokesman said the month-long suspension of the British Parliament will begin late on Monday.

"Parliament will be prorogued at the close of business today," the spokesman said, using the parliamentary term for the suspension.

He added it would take place regardless of the outcome of a government-led vote on holding a snap election next month.

Johnson last month asked Queen Elizabeth II to close the Houses of Parliament until October 14, claiming it was needed to allow him to introduce a new domestic agenda.

'Constitutional outrage'

But the suspension's timing and longer than usual duration sparked uproar across the political spectrum, with critics calling it a "constitutional outrage" and a coup.

Lawmakers opposed to a no-deal Brexit said it was clearly aimed at hobbling their efforts to prevent such a scenario, while it also prompted several so far unsuccessful court challenges.

However, the move appeared to backfire on Johnson by galvanising opposition MPs and Conservative rebels into passing legislation forcing him to seek a Brexit delay next month if he has not reached a deal with the EU.

That law is expected to receive royal assent on Monday.

Johnson responded to the Tory rebellion by kicking 21 MPs out of the party — including Winston Churchill's grandson — and barring them from standing as Conservatives in the next election.

The hardline response prompted a fresh revolt, with several ministers — including Works and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd — quitting the government and the party.

Brexit deal can be reached

Johnson told Ireland's leader on Monday that a new Brexit deal can be reached so Britain leaves the European Union by the October 31 deadline.

Speaking alongside Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Johnson said a deal on the Irish border question can be secured in time to enable a smooth British departure from the EU by the scheduled Brexit date.

He said a no-deal departure from the European Union would represent a "failure of statecraft" and that all sides would bear responsibility for that.

Johnson did not explain how the longstanding stalemate can be broken in a way that satisfies the other 27 EU leaders and would win backing in Britain's Parliament, where his party no longer has a working majority.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies