Oct 19, 2019

Boris Johnson sends letter to EU requesting Brexit delay

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.

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