First, a brief cover note from Britain's E.U. envoy explaining the government was simply complying with the law; second, an unsigned photocopy of the text that the law forced him to write; and a third letter in which Johnson outlined his opposition to an extension.
Further delay "would damage the interests of the U.K. and our E.U. partners, and the relationship between us," Johnson said. “We must bring this process to a conclusion.”
Despite the prime minister’s insistence on expressing his personal opposition to the idea, E.U. leaders acknowledged that they had received the U.K.’s extension request and would consider it.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
The E.U.'s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, said officials would consult "in the next days."
Johnson's government, meanwhile, continued to insist it would lead Britain out of the bloc as currently scheduled.
"We are going to leave by Oct. 31st," his minister in charge of Brexit Michael Gove told Sky News. "We have the means and the ability to do so."
Johnson’s move drew fierce criticism, with the letters becoming just the latest battle in an existential struggle that has gripped the country since it voted to leave the bloc in a June 2016 referendum.
Johnson could face legal challenges from opponents who feel that sending the second letter was done to frustrate Parliament.
The opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said Sunday that the prime minister "is being childlike." Finance spokesman John McDonnell said he was "treating Parliament and the Courts with contempt."
The prime minister has drawn frequent comparisons to Trump for his unconventional style, hardline policies and uncompromising approach.
Johnson has repeatedly accused his opponents of “surrender” to the E.U. by forcing further delay, leading to criticism that he is stoking tensions amid the increasingly febrile atmosphere in the country.