Tue | Nov 19, 2019

Boris Johnson likens himself to Hulk in Brexit fight

Published:Monday | September 16, 2019 | 12:29 AM
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

LONDON (Ap):

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has compared himself to the Hulk in a newspaper interview, emphasising his determination to take Britain out of the European Union (EU) next month.

Johnson faces considerable legal and political hurdles, but told Britain’s Mail yesterday that he will meet the October 31 deadline no matter what.

“The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets,” he told the widely read tabloid, invoking the comic book and film character known for formidable, but destructive strength.

Johnson remains defiant even though Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension to the deadline if no deal is reached by mid-October. He has also lost his working majority in Parliament and has been told by Scotland’s highest court that his decision to suspend Parliament was illegal.

Johnson portrays himself as more convinced than ever that Britain will break with the EU at the end of October.

He will have a lunchtime meeting in Luxembourg on Monday with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to try to modify the Irish backstop that has been a main sticking point, but EU leaders did not seem impressed by Johnson’s invocation of the Hulk.

The European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said the comments showed a lack of maturity.

“Even to Trumpian standards the Hulk comparison is infantile,” he tweeted. “Is the EU supposed to be scared by this? The British public impressed?”

Juncker, who has downplayed hopes of a breakthrough at Monday’s meeting, also expressed alarm that many people in Britain seem to feel a British departure without a deal with the EU would be a positive thing.

“It would be terrible chaos,” he said in an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio. “And we would need years to put things back in order. Anyone who loves his country, and I assume that there are still patriots in Britain, would not want to wish his country such a fate.”

The October 31 deadline looms large because Johnson has not said he will seek another extension if no deal is reached, despite legislation passed by Parliament shortly before it was suspended.

Britain’s Supreme Court, this week, will rule on whether Johnson overstepped the law when he shut the legislature for a crucial five-week period.

The Liberal Democrats, who have been enjoying a revival, voted overwhelmingly at their party conference Sunday to end the Brexit process entirely if they come to power.

Party leader Jo Swinson said Article 50, which triggered Brexit, would be revoked if she becomes prime minister.