Brexit Turmoil Continues as Alternative Dates Emerge

The European Council last night agreed an extension to Article 50, which the UK triggered two years ago as it sought to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

It is now expected that the Withdrawal Agreement will come back to Parliament in some form next week for a third meaningful vote. If it is passed, then the UK will be granted a delay to Article 50 until 22 May 2019. The purpose of this extension would be to allow the UK enough time to legislate for the deal, before leaving and entering the transition period on 22 May.

If MPs fail to approve a Withdrawal Agreement next week then the UK will be given a shorter extension until 12 April. During this period, the UK would have to come up with an alternative plan that could command support in the Commons and UK, request a lengthier extension and potentially enter into European Parliamentary elections, or leave the EU without a deal on 12 April 2019.

It is important to note that current UK legislation commits the UK to leaving on 29 March 2019 (next Friday). The changes to the Article 50 exit date in the Withdrawal Act will be made through a Statutory Instrument next week and although Parliament could reject the extension that is unlikely.