British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned letter to the European Union for a delay in Brexit, BBC reported on Sunday. The prime minister also sent another signed letter, in which Johnson said he thought the delay would be a mistake.
According to United Kingdom’s laws, Johnson was required to ask the European Union for an extension to the October 31 deadline after losing a vote in the House of Commons. The amendment, tabled by former Tory cabinet minister and now Independent MP Oliver Letwin, puts a hold on Brexit. The amendment was passed by 322 votes to 306.
After losing the vote on Saturday, Johnson reportedly asked a senior official to send the unsigned copy of the delay request. Following this, he sent the second signed letter in which he said “a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners”.
The prime minister reportedly sent a third letter from the United Kingdom’s envoy to the European Union, explaining the situation, according to The Guardian.
European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted that he had received the letter for an extension. “The extension request has just arrived,” he wrote. “I will now start consulting EU leaders on how to react.”
Unidentified officials at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, said the extension request was more likely to be granted. They claimed it may take a few days as Tusk will speak to the European Union’s heads of state.
Following the vote in the House of Commons, the European Union waited for Johnson’s administration to approach it first. “The European Commission takes note of the vote in the House of Commons today on the so-called Letwin amendment, meaning that the withdrawal agreement itself was not put to [the] vote today,” a spokesperson said. “It will be for the UK government to inform us about the next steps as soon as possible.”
On Thursday, Johnson had said he had secured a “great, new” Brexit deal, following negotiations with the European Union. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirmed that a deal had been reached.
Johnson had presented his proposal to the European Union on October 2, adding that Britain was ready to leave the bloc “with or without a deal” on October 31. On October 7, the prime minister told the European Union that it should urgently discuss his proposal for breaking the Brexit deadlock, ahead of the United Kingdom’s scheduled departure from the union on October 31.
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