- "The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK's request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020," Donald Tusk tweeted.
- The extension is flexible, and, should Parliament ratify the withdrawal agreement, will take effect at the end of that month.
- Prime Minister Johnson is expected to seek another snap election to get his deal ratified.
The European Union (EU) has accepted a further postponement of Brexit until January 31, European Council President Donald Tusk revealed on Monday. However, the agreement offers London the possibility of leaving the EU bloc before that date should the British Parliament ratify the exit agreement.
“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,” Tusk tweeted. The flexible extension of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon allows the United Kingdom to leave the bloc early if the British Parliament approves the agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brussels, already ratified by the Heads of State and Government.
The decision was arrived at in a meeting between representatives of the 27 EU nations. Tusk said the extension was “flexible” because the UK could leave the bloc on the first day of the month after the agreement was approved by the British Parliament. For Brexit to become effective, the European Parliament must also ratify the agreement.
Therefore, if the House of Commons (the lower house of the British Parliament) and the European Parliament approve the pact in November, and the United Kingdom is ready to leave the block, Brexit will take place on the night of November 30th to December 1st. If parliamentary ratification in London is completed in December, the exit will take place on the night of December 31. If the guarantee is only granted in January, Brexit will be applied on the 31st of the same month, the deadline for the new postponement. This same formula was adopted when EU countries granted the previous extension in April.
Initially scheduled for March 29, Brexit was postponed to April 12, and later to Thursday, October 31. In the middle of this month, the United Kingdom requested a third extension of Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon because of the inability of the British legislators to reach an agreement for the definitive exit of the European Community bloc. On Tuesday, the British Parliament passed legislation regulating the Johnson-negotiated Brexit deal but rejected the government’s proposed timetable for the 110-page document to be approved within three days.
Shortly thereafter, the Prime Minister announced that the government would suspend the legislative process for Brexit and speed up preparations for a No-Deal Brexit. The bill gives legal effect to Johnson’s negotiated exit agreement with Brussels, and sets out issues such as the transition period until the end of 2020 to allow companies to adapt to the new conditions and also for the two sides to negotiate a new agreement.
Johnson, who had earlier said he would rather be “dead in a ditch” than ask for an extension of Brexit, will now try to make the British exit by an early election on December 12. The Prime Minister hopes that a new parliament will likely support his exit deal negotiated with Brussels. Lawmakers are due to vote later Monday on the possibility of holding an early election.