EU agrees Brexit delay until January 31

The European Union on Monday agreed a three-month “flexible” delay to the UK’s proposed departure from the EU.

Just days before the UK is formally due to leave the EU on October 31, Brexit is hanging in the balance.

“The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK’s request for a Brexit ‘flextension’ until 31 January 2020,” European Council President Donald Tusk said in a tweet.

EU member states will need the UK to formally reply to its offer of a three-month delay before launching a “written procedure” whereby governments will have 24 hours to accept or reject.

Boris Johnson became UK prime minister in July by pledging “do or die” to deliver Brexit on October 31, but was forced to request a postponement after he was defeated in parliament.

“We can only launch the written procedure when we have the agreement of the UK government on the text,” a senior EU official said.

Johnson is bound by legislation passed last month to accept an extension.

Johnson will respond to the EU’s delay offer once he has reviewed the details, his spokesman said.

Johnson is demanding the UK parliament approves a general election on December 12 in return for more time to adopt his deal. 

But he needs the support of two-thirds — or 434 — of the 650 lawmakers for a new election. A House of Commons vote was due later on Monday.

The UK’s departure has already been delayed twice after Theresa May failed three times to get her deal ratified by parliament.