EU leaders have agreed to grant the United Kingdom a Brexit extension until January 31st 2020, with the option for the UK to leave the European Union earlier if a deal is ratified. Therefore, this extension can be superseded if there occurs an earlier ratification to Brexit plans by Members of Parliament.
The President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk, announced the decision on Twitter this morning at 9:23AM. Tusk tweeted that, “The EU 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”. This delay to the former exit date of October 31st intends to prevent the UK from exiting the EU without a formal deal.
Boris Johnson had previously stated that he would prefer to be “dead in a ditch”, than accept a delay to Brexit beyond the formerly agreed date of October 31st 2019.
This news comes after MP’s rejection of Boris Johnson’s Brexit timetable for the passage of a bill, that would implement his Brexit deal. Tusk made a swift statement following this, expressing that he recommends for Brexit to be extend until 2020. Johnson had proposed this three-day timetable to the Commons on the 22nd October. Johnson had previously stated that if this was to be rejected, then he would push for a General Election. Despite MP’s passing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill with a majority of 30 votes, thus allowing the deal to travel to the next stage of the parliamentary process, the Prime Minister took it off the agenda. This was due to MP’s refusal to agree to accede his demand for a three-day Brexit timetable, which would effectively allow him to fastback the bill, and prevents an exit by the 31st October.
Following this Commons defeat to his timetable plan, the Prime Minister took his opportunity at the dispatch box to confirm his pausing of the passage of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. However, the Prime Minister was later forced by Parliament to ask for an extension to the Article 50 process, amid concerns by MP’s that Johnson could take the UK out of the EU without an established deal.
The recent announcement of a delay to Brexit pressure’s opposition parties to decide whether they are up for a General Election or not. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, appeared on the Andrew Marr Show yesterday morning expressing that Labour will not shy away from a prospective election, even though Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn had previously expressed his dislike of an imminent election. Labour MP’s had made it clear that they would only back the move for a General Election, if Johnson makes it “absolutely clear” that a no-deal Brexit is off the table.
The recent story of 39 migrants being found dead in a back of a van in Essex, has exemplified the ongoing horrors of human trafficking. Opposition parties have employed this story as a means of emphasising their desire for a Brexit deal, in which the UK can retain access to EU wide security and intelligence services.