Brexit: Johnson awaits official EU response on extension

Brexit: Johnson awaits official EU response on extension
Donald Tusk said in a Tweet that he recommends the EU27 to accept the UK's request for an extension to the Brexit deadline. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

MPs voted on Tuesday evening in favour of the second reading of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s withdrawal bill, only to subsequently reject the three-day timetable that Johnson had proposed to hammering out the details of the legislation.

While it is the first time that MPs have voted in favour of a Brexit deal, the vote against Johnson’s Brexit timetable means that it is unlikely that there will be enough time for an agreement over the details of the bill to be reached before the 31 October deadline.

Johnson, who sent a letter to Brussels on Saturday requesting an extension to the Brexit deadline until 31 January 2020, subsequently announced that the process for ratifying the bill was paused and that he would seek clarification from the EU27 about a possible extension.

In response to Johnson’s decision to pause the ratification process, President of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Twitter that he recommends that the EU27 accept the UK extension request.

Tusk and Johnson had a phone call at around 2:00 PM on Wednesday, during which the European Council President explained why he is recommending the EU accept the request.

Following on from a phone call with Tusk, the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadker, is expected to announce his approval of a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020.

However, Tusk and Varadkar agreed that if the UK was able to hammer out the details of the withdrawal bill before that date, the UK could leave before the new deadline, according to a tweet by RTE’s Europe Editor Tony Connolly.

The EU27 will discuss the possibility of an extended Brexit deadline on Wednesday evening in Brussels.

Evie McCullough
The Brussels Times

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