EU Approves Brexit Delay and U.K. House of Commons Supports Snap Election

The uncertainty around Brexit continues with an EU-agreed upon delay and new elections on the horizon.

On 28 October, the leaders of the 27 European Union (EU) member states approved an extension of Brexit from 31 October to 31 January 2020. The United Kingdom Parliament under the Benn Act had directed U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request the extension if the Parliament did not consent to either a new Brexit agreement or a withdrawal from the EU without an agreement by 19 October. While Johnson reached a new agreement with EU leaders prior to the 19th, Parliament did not consent to the deal by the deadline and Johnson reluctantly sent a letter requesting the extension.

After the deadline had passed, the U.K. Parliament did vote by 329 to 299 in favor of the second reading of the legislation on the new Brexit agreement. However, Parliament then voted by 328 to 308 against the motion to expedite consideration of the bill so the U.K. could leave the EU by 31 October. As a result, Johnson pushed for a general election in December in the hope the outcome would strengthen his hand on getting the new agreement through Parliament.

Yesterday, the U.K. Parliament agreed by a vote of 402 to 20 to legislation setting the stage for a general election on 12 December. The House of Lords must sign off on the bill, which should be a formality. The outcome could lead to more the election of more Members of Parliament (MPs) who favor Brexit and support the new agreement clearing its way for final passage. The election, however, could as easily result in a higher number of MPs who are supportive of the U.K. remaining in the EU, thus bolstering their cause. The uncertainity around Brexit continues.

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