Angela Merkel says EU must grant Article 50 extension: reports

PUBLISHED: 11:46 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:46 18 October 2019

Angela Merkel has reportedly told EU 27 leaders that a request to extend Article 50 should be granted. Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Angela Merkel has reportedly told EU 27 leaders that a request to extend Article 50 should be granted. Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

2018 Getty Images

The German chancellor has told a meeting of EU leaders that a Brexit extension would be unavoidable if the UK asks for it, according to reports.

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Sources familiar with the discussions told the Guardian that both Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk were in agreement that the extension should be granted if Boris Johnson fails to gain a majority in parliament for his deal.

Johnson is currently undertaking a last-ditch charm offensive to persuade MPs to pass his bill approving the deal.

The DUP, who have 10 MPs, has signalled that it will not countenance the deal "as things stand", putting additional pressure on the prime minister to find votes from other potential groups.

Merkel's reported comments take a very different tone to Jean-Claude Juncker, who yesterday said he would not support the extension.

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Neither Juncker nor Tusk have a vote on this question, but Juncker's public words may prove useful to Boris Johnson as he attempts to persuade MPs that his deal is the only option.

Merkel, who is said to have framed Brexit as a historic responsibility for the EU, does have a say in the matter.

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