Tusk says Brexit extension decision will be based on what happens in London

The European Council President has said any decision on the UKs request for a Brexit extension wi...
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.11 22 Oct 2019

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Tusk says Brexit extension dec...

Tusk says Brexit extension decision will be based on what happens in London

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

10.11 22 Oct 2019

Share this article

The European Council President has said any decision on the UKs request for a Brexit extension will be based on what happens in the House of Commons in the coming days.

The British government has set out an ambitious plan to pass the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement in just three days.

That comes after MPs delayed a vote on Saturday - forcing UK Prime Minister to reluctantly request a Brexit extension from the EU.


Donald Tusk this morning told the European Parliament that a decision on the request will be made “in the coming days.”

“It is obvious that the result of these consultations will very much depend on what the British parliament decides or doesn't decide," he said.

“We should be ready for every scenario.

“But one thing must be clear. As I said to Prime Minister Johnson on Saturday, a no-deal Brexit will never be our decision.”

Brexit European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European Parliament, 22-10-2019. Image: Philipp von Ditfurth/DPA/PA Images

Meanwhile, the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Brexit had been a “waste of time and energy” for the bloc – but insisted the EU had done “all in its power” to secure a deal.

He said the EU would wait to see what happens in London before officially ratifying the new deal.

“We need now to watch events in Westminster very closely, but it's not possible, not imaginable that this parliament would ratify the agreement before Westminster has ratified the agreement,” he said.

“First London – then Brussels and Strasbourg.”

Brexit A confusion of pro and anti-Brexit flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, 21-10-2019. Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach is to brief Cabinet on Brexit this morning as the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to fast-track the deal through the House of Commons.

The legislation underpinning the bill in UK law is 115 pages long – with another 125 pages of accompanying notes – and Boris Johnson wants it passed on Thursday evening.

Opposition MPs have warned they are being asked to pass one of the most important pieces of legislation in modern UK history without proper consideration.

Brexit Debate

A second reading of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be held in the House of Commons today.

That will be followed by one or two votes – one on the bill itself and, if the UK Government is successful in the first, one on the timetable for approving the legislation.

If the government loses either vote, Mr Johnson may not be able to follow through on his ‘do or die’ pledge to take the UK out of the EU by Halloween.

If things go well for him, he hopes to hold a crucial final vote on the bill at around 7:30pm on Thursday.

Brexit The UK Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay speaks during a Brexit debate in London Saturday 19-10-2019. Image: Jessica Taylor/House of Commons via AP

Speaking ahead of the debate, Mr Johnson urged MPs not to frustrate the bill.

“We have negotiated a new deal so that we can leave without disruption and provide a framework for a new relationship based on free trade and friendly cooperation,” he said.

“We are leaving the European Union but we will always be European.

“I hope parliament today votes to take back control for itself and the British people and the country can start to focus on the cost of living, the NHS, and conserving our environment.

“The public doesn't want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I. Let's get Brexit done on October 31st and move on.”

"Deeply flawed"

However, opposition MPs have accused Mr Johnson of attempting to force it through without proper consideration.

The UK Labour party’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said: “This is a Bill to implement Boris Johnson's deeply flawed plan for Brexit.

“It is outrageous to deny parliament the chance to scrutinise this incredibly important legislation properly.

“Ministers are trying to bounce MPs into signing off a Bill that could cause huge damage to our country. We can't trust this prime minister.

“The truth is Boris Johnson knows that the more time people have to read the small print of his deal, the more it will be exposed for the risks it represents to our economy and communities across the country.”

Meanwhile Independent Group for Change MPs have pointed out that previous EU treaties took between four and 22 days to debate.

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