Will we EVER leave? Brussels weighs up ‘flexible extension’ if Boris Brexit deal fails


On Saturday, the Prime Minister sent three letters to European Council president Donald Tusk – including an unsigned document requesting a three-month extension to Article 50. An EU Commission spokeswoman has confirmed the “ratification process” has begun for an extension and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has held talks with EU 27 ambassadors. It is understood the EU is mulling over a counter-offer to the Prime Minister if he is unable to get his deal through the Commons.

According to Brussels sources, the EU is set to offer the UK an extension until January 2020, with a break clause if a Brexit deal is reached before the deadline.

Under the terms thought to be discussed by EU chiefs, Britain would be free to leave the EU in November, December or January – if parliament gives the Prime Minister the green-light, EU sources told the Daily Mail.

Britain leaving the EU without any further delay remains the EU “best case scenario”, a senior diplomat has said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has already voiced his opposition to any more extensions and insisted it is time to “put to an end to what is currently ongoing”.

The influential Europhile has said any delays would only be granted if there are “major changes”.

Following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, Mr Macron said: “I am not trying to read into the future but I do not think we shall grant any further delay.

“I think it is time to put an end to these negotiations and move on to the future relationship. And put to an end to what is currently ongoing.

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“What matters is to stick to the commitment we made and the deadline we set ourselves. It is up to each and every one to make their own decisions.

“There shall be no delay unless there are major changes.”

It is understood the major changes to trigger a further extension beyond January 2020 – include a second referendum or a general election.

Under those circumstances a further extension until June 2020 would be the most likely option, according to EU sources.

READ MORE: EU accepts UK Brexit extension as Boris Johnson letter plot fails

“And as I mentioned he will also debrief the college of commissioners tomorrow. So this is where we are for the time being.”

Today Mr Johnson will attempt to deliver on his “do or die” Brexit pledge and avoid any delay by putting forward another vote his Brexit deal.

Speaker John Bercow will decide whether a ‘meaningful vote’ will be held in parliament after the Prime Minister initially pulled the vote on Saturday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the Government does have the 320 votes required for the Brexit deal to be passed.

The Prime Minister received a huge boost after Steve Baker reaffirmed his support for the Brexit deal.

The European Research Group (ERG) chairman – who leads a the so-called ‘spartans’ – who voted against Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement three times, called on MPs to vote for the deal and support the legislation.

Mr Baker wrote on Twitter: “1. Vote for Boris’s deal in the national interest.

“2. Support the legislation to completion in good faith, provided it is not spoiled by opponents of Brexit.

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“3. Vote with Boris throughout to give him maximum opportunity to deliver for our country.”



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