Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: EU will grant extension to give MPs more time for debate

DUP MPs voted to block the prime minister's Brexit timetable.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Council President Donald Tusk (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Eimear McGovern

The President of the European Council has said he will recommend an extension to the Brexit deadline to give MPs in London more time to debate the Withdrawal Bill.

On Tuesday evening, Donald Tusk said he will propose a written procedure for the extension in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

It comes after Boris Johnson was forced to put his plans to leave the EU on October 31 on ice after suffering another defeat.

The House of Commons voted to pass the Brexit bill but rejected the prime minister's three day schedule to debate it, meaning the October 31 Brexit deadline will be missed.

A three month extension until January 31 2020 is now under consideration in line with the Benn Act.  It would automatically end once the deal is ratified by Westminster and the European Parliament in a “flextension”.

Mr Johnson told MPs he was "disappointed" they had "voted for delay", and said the UK "now faced further uncertainty".

He said: "One way or another, we will leave the EU with this deal to which this House has just given its assent."

10 DUP MPs voted against the Government's timetable.

Speaking in the Commons, DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: "The House has made a very wise decision to allow further time for detailed examination of the most important legislation that we will ever have to consider, particularly given the impact of Northern Ireland.

Nigel Dodds.PNG
Nigel Dodds speaking in the Commons

"I would say to the prime minister as he reflects on the votes that he would sit down with us and even at this late stage about what can be done as we join in this quest to get Brexit done as one United Kingdom."

Lib Dem MP Layla Moran tweeted: "DUP in the lobbies voting No with us. And some LabLeaves. We HOPE we have defeated the Gov. let's see."

Earlier, Mr Johnson warned MPs he would pull the whole Bill and go for a general election if they rejected his timetable and decided to "delay everything until January or even longer".

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: "So disappointed 2nd Reading passed - esp with help of Labour MPs who am sure genuinely believe they must do 'will of people' in their constituencies, without checking if will has changed via #PeoplesVote.

"But this isn't end -as Bill gets more scrutiny, more flaws will be shown."

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