EU agrees to 31st January extension - but says door still open to cancel Brexit

PUBLISHED: 09:28 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:05 28 October 2019

Boris Johnson meeing Donald Tusk during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. Tusk has recently reminded the government that a Brexit extension is still possible. Picture: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson meeing Donald Tusk during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. Tusk has recently reminded the government that a Brexit extension is still possible. Picture: Andrew Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Britain will remain a member of the European Union until 31st January - the EU has agreed - but it can leave sooner if the Brexit deal is agreed by parliament.

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Following a meeting of ambassadors, European Council president Donald Tusk said the EU 27 would accept the UK's request for a Brexit "flextension" until January 31.

The news was tweeted by European council president Donald Tusk, who said "the decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure."

Tusk tweeted: "The EU27 has agreed that it will accept the UK's request for a Brexit flextension until 31 January 2020. The decision is expected to be formalised through a written procedure."

It comes as the French minister for European Affairs has said she does not know when Brexit will happen, but insisted Britain can still reverse its decision to leave the EU.

Amelie de Montchalin told France Info radio it is still possible for Britain to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit.

Montchalin said prime minister Boris Johnson "can pick up his phone and call Brussels to say: 'I stop everything"'.

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France was initially reluctant to extend the deadline beyond its scheduled date of October 31, but Montchalin said the perspective of a possible general election in Britain justifies a fresh delay.

A vote in the House of Commons on whether or not to back a December general election will follow.

"Our friends in Europe have shown extraordinary patience and continue to do so," said Best for Britain's Naomi Smith. "We thank them for accepting our urgent request for an extension, but we also ask them not to help the prime minister rush through the terrible deal he has brought back.

She added: "Passing such an awful deal without proper scrutiny would hurt both us and the EU. Any deal which splits the United Kingdom and hugely downgrades our trading terms will not be welcomed nor remembered fondly."

Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake MP said it was "welcome news" in the fight against a no-deal Brexit.

He said: "Boris Johnson's 'do-or-die' 31st October Brexit deadline has failed. We are still in the EU. The fight is far from over.

"Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to Stop Brexit. We passionately believe that there is no deal that is as good as the one we have now: in the EU."

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