Brexit Likely Delayed to 2020 as Macron Backs Three-month Extension

Brexit
JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

It appears that Brexit will be delayed until 2020, as France’s Emmanuel Macron has swung behind a three-month extension to the departure deadline.

The French president had reportedly been pushing for a much shorter extension, pushing back the October 31st deadline just a few weeks to mid-November to give British prime minister Boris Johnson enough time to get his revised version of Theresa May’s withdrawal treaty with the European Union through the Houses of Parliament.

It seems anti-Brexit British MPs and EU Council chief Donald Tusk will now get the three-month extension they had been pushing for, however, with a French official signalling to Bloomberg that Macron was willing to sign off on it.

The delay — which will be the third since Brexit was originally supposed to take place on March 29th 2019, already years after the British people voted to Leave the European Union in June 2016 — was later all but finalised by President Tusk on social media.

“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a #Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020,” he wrote on Twitter, the EU27 being the governments of the 27 member-states of the European Union besides the United Kingdom.

“The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure.”

Boris Johnson had not wanted to ask for another Brexit delay, and had vowed he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask for one — but MPs in the House of Commons, around 70 per cent of whom voted Remain in 2016, thwarted him by ramming a law dubbed “the Surrender Act” ordering the Prime Minister to ask for one, and even laid out in precise terms how the request should be worded.

Until almost the last minute, Johnson hinted he would not comply with the Act, but in the end he sent the letter, attempting to appease Brexit supporters by sending it to President Tusk in the form of an unsigned photocopy, along with a signed letter saying he personally did not support an extension.

It was the unsigned photocopy which had the force of law behind it, however, and the EU has accepted its request for a three-month extension and discarded Johnson’s signed letter asking them not to.

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