EU agrees to postpone Brexit until January 2020 in blow to Boris Johnson

The EU has agreed to delay Brexit until next year.

Donald Tusk announced that European leaders have agreed to Boris Johnson’s request for an extension until January 31, 2020.

The decision is a blow to the Prime Minister, who has said in the past he would prefer to be “dead in a ditch” than miss the October 31 deadline.

The focus now turns back to the prime minister’s attempts to get his Withdrawal Agreement Bill - the legal proposition that aims to put his Brexit deal into law - through Parliament.

So what happens next?

The announcement by the EU comes ahead of a vote by MPs on whether to back a December general election.

Mr Johnson has said he will give MPs until November 6 to debate his EU exit Bill – possibly providing enough time to pass it – but only if they agree to grant an election on December 12.

The Prime Minister’s election bid on Monday, to be made under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act (FTPA), requires a two-thirds Commons majority – 434 MPs – to agree to a snap election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves after speaking at an activists training event at the GLO Centre in Motherwell, Scotland. PA Photo. Picture date: Saturday October 26, 2019. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Labour is expected to vote down Boris Johnson's request for a snap election on Monday (Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)

Labour’s lack of support for the proposal means it is likely to be defeated when voted upon at around 5pm on Monday evening.

The PM will likely fail to secure “super majority” support for a December election – but knows he will require 100 fewer MPs to grant the same request just 24 hours later.

Mr Johnson has already had two requests for an election refused, but the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party have offered Mr Johnson a way out of the deadlock.

Read more on Brexit:

MPs set to vote on early general election

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson and the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford have put forward a tightly drafted Bill that would grant an election on December 9 – three days earlier than the PM’s suggested polling date.

The draft law, currently scheduled for Tuesday’s sitting, would require a simple majority of 320 MPs to support it in order to dissolve Parliament – 114 fewer than under the FTPA “super majority” rules.

However, if MPs approve the Lib Dem-SNP Bill and grant an election on December 9, all Bills would need to be wrapped up by Thursday, leaving no time to put the PM’s Brexit deal onto the statute books.

Downing Street is yet to confirm whether it will back the vote.

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