MPs vote to delay Brexit

Having rejected the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal, MPs voted by 402 to 202 in favour of requesting an extension to Article 50. The UK Government now has to make a formal approach to the European Council to ask for an extension.

  • An extension will need agreement from each EU member state
  • A third “meaningful vote” is imminent
  • The UK faces the prospect of taking part in the European Parliament elections

Having rejected the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal, MPs voted by 402 to 202 in favour of requesting an extension to Article 50. The UK Government now has to make a formal approach to the European Council to ask for an extension, which will require assent from each of the 27 EU member states. Until the request for extension is granted, the official date on which the UK leaves the EU will remain 29 March. 

“An extension to Article 50 cannot rule out the possibility of “no deal” in future”

The length of any extension will hinge on whether Prime Minister Theresa May manages to get a deal approved by 20 March, but there is little to suggest that Brussels would be prepared to reopen discussions around the existing Withdrawal Agreement. If she succeeds in winning the backing of the House of Commons, an extension of three months will be requested; otherwise, “the length of the extension will depend on its purpose”. 

An extension to Article 50 cannot rule out the possibility of “no deal” in future, and this might motivate some MPs to support Mrs May’s existing Brexit deal. Moreover, an extension that goes beyond 22 May will also force the UK to take part in European Parliamentary elections. President of the European Council Donald Tusk has already confirmed that he will “appeal to the EU27 to be open to a long extension if the UK finds it necessary to rethink its Brexit strategy and build consensus around it”. 

Get In Touch

Find Us On Map