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European parliament given extension to ratify Brexit deal

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France. Photo: FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images - Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The European parliament has been given an extension to scrutinise the Brexit deal between the UK government and EU.

The UK has given the parliament until April 30 to debate the deal after MEPs called for more time.

Despite coming into effect on January 1, the agreement has only been provisionally implemented, with a deadline to approve it by February 28 now slipping.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has now agreed to an extension until the end of April, with the European Commission saying will be sufficient time.

Gove said: “Provisionally applying the agreement was not the United Kingdom’s preferred outcome given the uncertainty it creates for individuals and businesses and indeed the parties.

“Extending the period of provisional application prolongs that uncertainty.”

In a letter to European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, he said the UK expects the EU to “satisfy its internal requirements” before April 30 and “that we would therefore not be asked to further extend the period” beyond that date.

The UK parliament approved the Brexit deal and it became law on December 30 – just six days after it was agreed with Brussels on Christmas Eve.

But the government has since rehired its Brexit negotiator to deal with fresh negotiations over problems surrounding the agreement, mainly around difficulties due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

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