- Brexit is set to be delayed until next year after European Council President Donald Tusk recommended European leaders accept Britain’s request to extend the Brexit deadline.
- Tusk said a delay was necessary to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
- It comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson abandoned his bid to force through Brexit legislation in time for the October 31 deadline.
- Members of Parliament had earlier approved Johnson’s Brexit deal in principle but rejected his timetable for passing it through Parliament.
- Johnson insists he will not accept another delay but will instead “go forward to a general election.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
European Council President Donald Tusk has recommended that EU leaders accept Britain’s request to delay Brexit after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson shelved the legislation required to ratify his deal with the EU.
Tusk tweeted on Tuesday that a delay to Brexit was required to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal on the Brexit deadline of October 31.
“Following PM Boris Johnson’s decision to pause the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, and in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension,” he tweeted.
—Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 22, 2019
Tusk’s response came after MPs on Tuesday gave their in-principle approval for the deal Johnson agreed with the EU but then rejected his timetable to ratify the deal by the end of October.
After the vote, Johnson said he would “pause” the legislation while he awaited the EU’s response to his request for a delay.
Johnson said he was “disappointed” by the decision to block the passage of his deal.
“I must express my disappointment that the House has again voted for delay rather than a timetable that would have guaranteed that the UK would be in a position to leave the EU on October 31 with a deal,” he told MPs.
“We now face further uncertainty, and the EU must now make up their minds over how to answer Parliament’s request for a delay,” he added.
Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg told MPs that “it is very hard to see how it is possible” to pass the Brexit bill through Parliament in time for the October 31 deadline.
Johnson had earlier insisted that he would not accept any delay but would instead “go forward to a general election,” if the EU chose to extend the deadline.
Any extension will need to be unanimously accepted by EU leaders and French President Emmanuel Macron has previously suggested he may veto any request.
However, Tusk signalled that approval for a further extension could be achieved without a formal EU summit.
Will EU leaders approve another Brexit delay?
EU leaders are not particularly keen on another delay to Brexit, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying last week that he saw no need for a further “prolongation.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke out against another extension on Friday, saying he saw no reason why one should take place.
Any individual EU leader could in theory veto the request, despite Tusk’s recommendation.
However, most EU leaders are very reluctant to force a no-deal Brexit.
The vice president of the European Parliament signaled last week that a request would ultimately be approved in order to prevent Britain crashing out of the EU.
“We will support an extension of Article 50 if that is needed to prevent a no-deal scenario,” Pedro Silva Pereira told Sky News.
One senior EU source told Business Insider last week, “I do know that there will be [a Brexit extension] offered.”