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Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent Saturday evening an unsigned photocopy of a letter requesting the European Union delay Brexit, ITV News reports. He also sent the EU an "explanatory letter" from the United Kingdom's ambassador to the EU and a letter signed by Johnson making it clear he doesn't want a delay to Brexit, per the Guardian.

Why it matters: Johnson had said he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than seek an extension. But he was legally required to send the Brexit delay request after the U.K. Parliament passed a law in September requiring him to seek a Brexit extension rather than crash out of the EU without a deal on Oct. 31.

What they're saying: European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted, "The extension request has just arrived. I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react."

The big picture: Johnson reached a Brexit deal with the EU last week and he was to bring it up for a vote in a special parliamentary session Saturday.

  • The vote was delayed because lawmakers approved an amendment during the session that withholds approval of the deal "in case the necessary legislation to enact the deal had not been passed by Oct 31," per the Telegraph.

What's next: Johnson said he would table his Brexit legislation next week.

Go deeper: U.K. Parliament thwarts Boris Johnson's Brexit plan

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.