A cross-party delegation of pro-EU MPs – which included Dominic Grieve, David Lammy, Vince Cable and Caroline Lucas – have heard from EU member state representatives how there will be no agreement on a Brexit deal this week.
In their meetings in Brussels, the MPs heard how the growing optimism in Westminster that a deal could be done appear overly optimistic, as EU member states believe a delay is now most likely.
By law if there is no agreement by Saturday the Benn act stipulates that if there is no agreed deal between the UK and the EU by 19th October then the government will be required to request an extension to the Article 50 deadline beyond 31 October.
Earlier today, after weeks of speculation, the Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay admitted that the government “will comply” with the act.
The cross-party delegation, which also included Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville-Roberts,the SNP’s Peter Grant and representatives from Best for Britain, had travelled to Brussels to make sure the EU would not close the door to a second Article 50 extension.
In meetings with member states’ permanent representatives organised by Best for Britain, the People’s Vote supporters made clear that the UK needed an extension “of sufficient length” to organise a fresh democratic event and resolve the Brexit crisis.
One of the MPs, Dominic Grieve, said it looked like the Benn act would now come into play.
The Best for Britain supporter said: “It’s clear that a final Brexit deal will not be agreed this week. This is not surprising.
“Three years of negotiations with the EU have been wasted, and the current administration have refused to renegotiate red line up until the last minute.
“That means the Benn act comes into play, and an extension to the Article 50 deadline must be requested by law.
“That extension would prevent us from falling over a No-Deal Brexit cliff-edge. And as we made clear in our meetings, that extension must also be of a sufficient length to organise for the people to have the final say and resolve the Brexit crisis.”