UK granted October extension to Brexit

The UK has been granted another extension to Article 50, again pushing out the date at which it is due to leave the EU.

After late-night discussions between Prime Minister Theresa May and the leaders of the other 27 EU member states, it was decided that the UK will now have until October 31 to come to a withdrawal arrangement before Brexit takes effect.

At that summit, May requested an extension until June 30, following on from the previous delay that was given; that delay was in effect since March 29, up to April 12.

It is understood that this new extension will require the UK to take part in the upcoming European elections – something that May had been opposed to.

Furthermore, it is also understood that this delay will be reviewed sometime in June; if a withdrawal deal is ratified by that point, the UK may be given the option to leave on the prime minister’s favoured June 30 deadline.

The October deadline with the June caveat is seen as a compromise option; almost all leaders at tonight’s summit were in favour of a long extension.

However, it is understood that French president Emmanuel Macron steadfastly held to the view that a shorter period was the appropriate course of action, apparently to prevent the UK “disrupting” the EU.

When the EU granted the previous extension, it was prepared to offer an extension until May 22, if the House of Commons was able to ratify the withdrawal agreement before April 12.

May was unable to get the agreement passed – partly as a result of some of her own party members, along with her coalition partners, the Democratic Unionist Party, opposing it – thereby forcing her to seek this new extension in order get a deal in place with the EU before the UK leaves.