UK Politics: EU prepared to accept additional 3-month Brexit delay

EU leaders have accepted the UK's request for a further extension to Brexit.
A new extension to Brexit has been accepted by the EU.
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A new 'flextension' has been granted by EU leaders to allow the UK to leave the EU next year. Tradefair brings you the latest from UK politics...

"The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK's request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020,"

- Donald Tusk

EU leaders have signed off on a new Brexit extension that could now see the UK leave the EU by January 31 next year.

It follows weeks of discussions over the latest Brexit deal and several failed votes in parliament by Boris Johnson's government to fast-track the implementation of legislation that would have allowed the UK to leave on the original Brexit schedule of October 31.

Still pushing for an orderly Brexit

Described as a "flextension", the agreement will allow the UK to leave the EU on the 1st of any month after which a Brexit deal has been agreed. It follows an official request from the UK to once again extend the Brexit timeline.

European Council president Donald Tusk confirmed the announcement this morning (October 28) in a tweet:

The decision was one that seemed fairly unlikely last week, after French president Emmanuel Macron initially vetoed the plan to allow any further delays to Brexit. However, his stance appears to have softened following a hectic weekend of talks with fellow European leaders.

UK could still leave sooner

With the official date for Brexit now pushed into the new year, that does not mean the UK will be bound to this latest date. Indeed, Tusk was eager to highlight the fact that this new deadline is simply a cut-off and should the UK be in a position to leave sooner then that will be facilitated.

It means talks in parliament can now continue regarding the specific content of the latest Brexit deal, although with the October deadline now scrapped, it means attention is likely to shift towards the prospect of a UK election.

Johnson has campaigned tirelessly for this during the course of the last week and he now appears likely to get his way. Indeed, education secretary Gavin Williamson told BBC Breakfast today: "The best way is to vote for the motion tonight. This Parliament is totally broken. Let the people decide the next step forward."

Not good news for business' certainty

The news of an official extension to Brexit has so far failed to stimulate positive sentiment in UK markets. Indeed, the continued uncertainty that a January deadline now creates for many businesses appears to have pushed the FTSE 100 into decline - down by 0.12% by Monday lunchtime from its position at the opening of trading today.

It remains to be seen how the next phase of Brexit negotiations will unfold in parliament, but with the prospect of a general election on the horizon, there's still no guarantees as to who will be the leading party in charge of Brexit planning. In many ways, it's still wait and see when it comes to Brexit.

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