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EU to decide on Brexit extension as UK faces possible general election

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Wednesday 23 Oct 2019

EU to decide on Brexit extension as UK faces possible general election

(Sharecast News) - European leaders are set to decide on whether to grant the UK another Brexit extension until January, but there were doubts about whether Paris would agree.
Citing an EU official, CNBC reported that a decision was likely over the course of the following week although it could come as soon as Thursday.

If granted, the extension would mark the third postponement to Brexit after UK lawmakers rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson's rushed timetable to push the proposed deal through Parliament and exit the bloc on 31 October.

Some reports indicated that the EU would offer a flexible extension, giving London three months to decide how to proceed but without blocking its ability to leave sooner if the necessary legislation was implemented sooner.

On Tuesday, a majority of MPs signaled their support for a second reading of the agreement that Johnson had reached with the other 27 EU nations during the previous week. However, in a follow up vote they refused to rush through the necessary legislation that would have seen the UK leave in just three working days.

And media reports in Britain suggested that Downing Street would push for an election if Brexit was delayed until January.

"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," European Council President Donald Tusk, who is leading the extension discussions with the different EU leaders, said on Twitter on Tuesday night.

Tusk also believed that the EU should decide on the extension request by "written procedure".

But it remained unclear if the EU would accept the British Parliament's request for a delay until January or decide on a different deadline.

"I hope we can stick to the timeline we gave ourselves and that the date of 31 October is respected," Emmanuel Macron, France's president, told reporters in Brussels on Friday.

"I do not think that another delay should be granted. We should end these negotiations and move on to talks on our future relations and get them done," Macron added.

On Tuesday, one diplomatic source had told Reuters that France was only open to granting the UK a few more days to complete the necessary legislation.

A meeting between the 27 European ambassadors to discuss London's request was due to take place on Wednesday.

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