Brussels / The European Union on Monday said it had accepted a request for a flexible Brexit extension until the end of January 2020 unless a deal is found before then.
EU leaders met to discuss extending the Brexit date beyond the slated 31 October after the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to shore up parliamentary backing for his deal.
“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure,” the head of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said on Twitter.
Johnson was bound by an opposition bill to write the EU a letter requesting a delay to Brexit if his withdrawal deal failed to make it through the House of Commons, the UK’s lower chamber of Parliament.
He did so on 19 October following an extraordinary parliamentary session held on a Saturday in a last-ditch attempt to get his Brexit bill approved. The PM eventually withheld the bill after an amendment allowing more time for MPs to scrutinize it was passed by Parliament.
Then, on 22 October, MPs backed his Brexit bill but rejected the emergency timetable the PM had proposed to write the withdrawal agreement into UK law within three days.
The EU’s “flextension” means that the delayed period could be cut short if a deal is found before 31 January.
Meanwhile, UK lawmakers are preparing to vote on Johnson’s proposal to hold snap elections on 12 December as the Conservative Party government looks for a way to end the Brexit deadlock.
However, Johnson needs two-thirds of MPs in the House of Commons, the lower chamber of Parliament, to back the proposal for it to go ahead.
With the opposition Labour Party set to oppose it, the most likely outcome is that the PM will fail to get his way unless a deal is found with smaller opposition parties like the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party.
Polling suggests the Conservative Party would walk away from any snap elections with the most votes with Labour coming in second. (October 28, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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