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EU Agrees to Delay Brexit

UK asked for a 'flextension' to Jan. 31
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 28, 2019 7:37 AM CDT
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts while he speaks to chief nurse Nicola Burns-Muir at the children's ward of Milton Keynes University Hospital in Milton Keynes, England, Friday Oct. 25, 2019.   (Toby Melville/Pool via AP)

(Newser) – Looks like no Brexit this year: The European Union agreed Monday to delay Brexit until Jan. 31—making the concession just three days before Britain was due to become the first country ever to leave the 28-nation bloc. After a short meeting of diplomats in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that the EU's 27 other countries will accept "the UK's request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January, 2020." In London, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said it was Parliament's fault, not Johnson's, that another Brexit delay was needed, per the AP. Johnson secured "a great new deal, he set out a timetable that would have allowed the U.K. to leave on Oct. 31 with that deal—and Parliament blocked it," said spokesman James Slack.

Johnson now plans to seek an early general election with the goal of getting a Parliament that would back his Brexit plan, but he may not have enough support. Lawmakers were meeting later Monday in the House of Commons on Johnson's early election call. Tusk added that the EU decision is expected to be formalized through a written procedure, meaning a special summit of EU leaders likely won't be necessary to approve the move. Two diplomats told the AP the term "flextension" means that the UK will be able to leave earlier than Jan. 31 if the Brexit divorce deal that the EU and Johnson agreed upon earlier this month is ratified before Jan. 31. If that happens, the UK would leave the EU on the first day of the month following the ratification.

(Read more Brexit stories.)

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