On Wednesday, the EU council concluded that it will grant an extension to Article 50 until 31 October 2019. As a matter of international law the UK’s exit date from the EU has been altered from 12 April 2019 to 31 October 2019. As a result of an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 5) Bill, no further domestic legislation is required to amend the definition of ‘exit day’ in UK law.
Fundamentally, the options available to the UK remain the same. The UK could:
- Leave the EU with a withdrawal agreement.
- Leave the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 31 October 2019.
- Revoke Article 50 and remain a member of the EU.
While the UK remains a member of the EU it is obliged to hold European elections on 23-26 May 2019. If the UK fails to hold these elections, it will leave on 1 June 2019.
A copy of the conclusions from the European Council summit here, a letter from the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU confirming the Government’s agreement of the extension of Article 50 can be found here, President Donald Tusk’s statement following the meeting can be found here, and Theresa May’s statement following the meeting can be found here.
Talks between the Government and Labour are expected to continue in an attempt to find a way forward that could be approved by Parliament.