Brexit 2020: EU Members Expected to Grant Another Extension as Election Talks Loom

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street for the House of Commons on October 19, 2019 in London, England. Parliament is sitting on a Saturday, for the first time since the Falklands war, to debate and vote on the Prime Minister’s new Brexit deal. (Photo …
Peter Summers/Getty Images

The leaders of European Union member states are expected to vote today on a three-month extension to Article 50 until January 31st, 2020, with the possibility of the United Kingdom leaving early if a deal has been secured

The EU deal would grant a Brexit delay until January 31st, but would set the alternative leave dates on December 1st or New Year’s Day if a withdrawal agreement has been ratified.

Update 0930: European Council agree to Brexit extension

The European Council — the body representing the heads of states of the member nations of the European Union has agreed to delay Brexit once again, its President Donald Tusk revealed Monday morning.

The decision will be made official later in the day, Tusk says, so expect an official letter sent to Boris Johnson as well as speeches and press conferences.

The original story continues below

Under the terms of the deal, the United Kingdom would have to agree that there would be no future negotiations on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, the Financial Times reports . Britain would also have to nominate a member of the European Commission that would serve until the UK leaves the EU — a clear sign to voters of the persistent failure of Westminster to deliver on the 2016 referendum vote.

France, which stood as a possible roadblock to an extension, softened its position over the weekend towards another Brexit delay as President Emmanuel Macron was convinced that elections in the UK would be conducted shortly. By Monday morning it was reported it was “most likely” France would not stand in the way of a significant delay.

An EU official told the Financial Times: “It’s true that France had a fairly tough position, but there is now the perspective of quick British elections, which changes the picture.”

The news of another extension comes amidst fresh talks over an election in the United Kingdom, as the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP) have announced that they will push for an election on December 9th under the assumption that a no-deal Brexit would be taken off the table.

The move, if approved by Parliament, would effectively block any consideration of Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, as UK law demands that Parliament be dissolved 25 working days before an election.

The bill put forward by the Lib Dems and SNP would amend the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, meaning that a call for an election would only require a simple majority. Because the two parties do not have the votes to pass the measure by themselves, the bill would require cross-party support.

Conservative Party chair James Cleverly, speaking to the BBC, dubbed the move a “gimmick” and that “if the Liberal Democrats and SNP really want an election, they should vote for the Dec. 12 date proposed by Johnson.”

Others Conservatives fear that the move is a plot to undermine Johnson and the Conservatives going into an election. A senior Tory told The Times: “An election without having delivered Brexit helps the Lib Dems and Farage — our two main opponents. To say it’s risky is an understatement.”

Boris Johnson said last week that he would be asking MPs to vote today on a December 12th election. However, under the rules of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, Johnson would require a two-thirds majority to secure an election.

Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, reiterated his stance that the party would not vote for an election until a no-deal Brexit was “completely off the table”, and labelled the move by the Liberal Democrats and SNP as a “stunt”.

According to The Times, an unnamed source inside Number 10 said on Sunday: “Jeremy Corbyn and MPs’ refusal to deliver Brexit is damaging our democracy and causing harm for millions of businesses. Leaving this parliament in place means not just three months more of pointless delay, but potentially further extensions.

“We can’t allow parliament to waste 2020 the way it has wasted 2019. The country wants Brexit done so we can move on. [On Monday] MPs will vote on an election on December 12, so we can get a new parliament.

“If Labour oppose[s] being held to account by the people yet again then we will look at all options to get Brexit done, including ideas similar to that proposed by other opposition parties.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.