The Latest: UK minister: No-deal Brexit preparations gear up

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to lawmakers inside the House of Commons to update details of his new Brexit deal with EU, in London Saturday Oct. 19, 2019. At a rare weekend sitting of Parliament, Johnson implored legislators to ratify the Brexit deal he struck this week with the other 27 EU leaders. Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Stephen Barclay, left, and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, right. (Jessica Taylor/House of Commons via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s impending departure from the European Union (all times local):

1:25 p.m.

The British minister in charge of Brexit preparations says contingency plans are being “triggered” to cope with the disruptions expected if the country crashes out of the European Union without a divorce deal.

Michael Gove tells Sky News that “we are preparing to ensure that, if no extension is granted, we have done everything possible in order to prepare to leave without a deal.”

His comments Sunday come after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reluctantly asked for an extension to Britain’s scheduled Oct. 31 departure from the EU.

Gove’s move could be designed to pressure British lawmakers into supporting Johnson’s Brexit deal.

The U.K. government warned earlier this year that in a worst-case scenario, a no-deal Brexit could lead to disruptions including long traffic jams at ports, shortages of food and medicines and problems for travelers.

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12:45 p.m.

The prime minister of Finland, whose country holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, says “it makes sense to allow extra time” for London to deal with the negotiated Brexit agreement to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain’s impending Oct. 31 departure from the bloc, as required by British law, to Jan. 31, 2020. But he followed it with a signed letter indicating that he does not favor another Brexit extension, which he says would be against the interests of EU and British citizens as well as businesses.

Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne says Sunday that “Finland, along with other EU nations, attaches great importance to the approval of the departure agreement negotiated with Britain.”

Rinne said the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will talk with the EU’s 27 leaders about the British request to delay Brexit.

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11:10 a.m.

The opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman has re-emphasized his party’s support for a second referendum on Britain’s divorce deal with the European Union.

Keir Starmer told the BBC on Sunday that “whatever deal gets through, it should be subject to a referendum.”

His comments come a day after Parliament forced Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek an extension to the Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the EU. That came after the postponement Saturday of a vote on Johnson’s Brexit deal, which he agreed on with EU leaders on Thursday.

Starmer says what Labour is seeking now is that “this deal in particular but any deal is put up against remain in a referendum.”

Hundreds of thousands of people marched through London on Saturday demanding a “people’s vote” on Brexit.

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10:40 a.m.

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has met with EU ambassadors to discuss the consequences of the letter sent by British Prime minister Boris Johnson asking for a Brexit extension.

Asked Sunday after the meeting in Brussels whether EU leaders would be open to granting a new Brexit delay, Barnier just said EU Council President Donald Tusk would hold consultations “in the next days.”

Barnier said it was “a very short and normal meeting” to “launch the next steps of the EU ratification of the agreement.”

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain’s impending Oct. 31 departure from the bloc, as required by British law. But he followed it with a signed letter indicating that he does not favor another Brexit extension.

Johnson very much wants Britain to leave the bloc on Oct. 31 but British lawmakers have not yet voted on his new Brexit plan.

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10:20 a.m.

A German minister is calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a cross-party solution to the Brexit standoff and says he wouldn’t have a problem with delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union for a few weeks.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, was quoted Sunday as telling German daily Bild that “a good and orderly solution is still possible if Boris Johnson now reaches out to Parliament and seeks a cross-party solution.”

He says Britain’s continued political “power poker” game over Brexit endangers jobs and prosperity, and “if an extension by a few weeks is necessary, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.”

The European Union has not yet responded to Johnson’s grudging request late Saturday to extend the looming Oct. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the bloc.

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10 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a legal challenge from opponents over his Brexit plan.

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the European Union late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain’s impending departure from the bloc, as required by law. But he followed it with a signed letter indicating that he does not favor another Brexit extension.

EU officials have not responded to the request and say consultations are underway.

Opponents feel that sending the second letter was done specifically to frustrate the will of Parliament, which has not approved Johnson’s Brexit plan but does want a Brexit deal.

The Court of Session in Scotland is already considering the matter, and it may end up being decided in the British Supreme Court, which in September ruled that Johnson had acted unlawfully when he suspended Parliament for five weeks as the Brexit deadline crept closer.

Scottish National Party legislator Joanna Cherry said the legal battle over Brexit resumes Monday to see “if the prime minister has flouted the law and the promises he gave to the court.”

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9 a.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is pressing ahead to try to win parliamentary backing for his new Brexit deal even as the European Union considers his grudging request to extend the looming Oct. 31 Brexit deadline.

Johnson sent an unsigned letter to the EU late Saturday seeking a delay to Britain’s impending departure from the bloc, as required by law. But he followed it with a signed letter indicating that he does not favor another Brexit extension.

EU officials have not responded to the request and say consultations are underway. The formal granting or denial of an extension by the bloc may not be made until the Brexit deadline is just a few days away, but most signs indicate the EU would prefer an extension to an abrupt U.K. departure from the bloc without a deal in place.

Johnson has been determined to take the country out of the 28-nation bloc on Oct. 31, but lawmakers are trying to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which economists say would wreak damage on the U.K. economy.

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