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Brexit: Key dates in what could happen next explained

BayRadio | October 23, 2019

Boris Johnson has put his key piece of Brexit legislation on hold and the European Union is poised to grant a third delay to Britain’s exit from the bloc.

So what happens now?

All eyes will be on Brussels, with EU leaders set to accept Britain’s request for a delay to Brexit.

Exactly when this could happen is unclear.

Sky’s Europe Correspondent Adam Parsons has been told by diplomatic sources that the approval could come in writing, rather than requiring a meeting of the bloc’s leaders.

The prime minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will clash at PMQs in the Commons from noon.

Following this, the debate will resume on the Queen’s Speech, the government’s legislative agenda which was set out at the state opening of parliament earlier this month.

A vote on the Queen’s Speech is currently scheduled for Thursday. Given the government does not have a majority, they are expected to lose.

It would be the first time a government has lost a vote on a Queen’s Speech since the 1920s.

Westminster will be watching to see if Mr Johnson follows through on his promise to push for an early election if Brussels grants an extension.

He cannot call an election himself – two-thirds of MPs need to back a motion in a Commons vote.

So if a response from Brussels is quick in coming, a vote on an early election could, in theory, happen on Thursday.

The Commons does not sit on Fridays, with MPs returning to their constituencies.

:: 31 October

As it stands, this is the day Britain is due to leave the EU.

Mr Johnson came to office pledging to deliver Brexit on this date, “do or die”.

However, this looks like a remote prospect after a damaging defeat for the PM.

MPs rejected his timetable for passing the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation needed to enshrine his Brexit deal into UK law.

Speaking before the vote, Mr Johnson said he would move to pursue an election if the government was defeated.

:: Late November/early December

If Mr Johnson follows through on his promise to try to hold an election – and MPs agree to it, then this is when the poll is expected to be.

The exact date depends on when MPs vote for one.

Parliament is dissolved 25 working days before a general election, with voters usually going to the polls on a Thursday.

So, for example, if MPs vote for an election tomorrow, one could take place at the end of November.

This would mean the 28th is in play as a possible date.

If it happens next week, a 5 December election becomes the most likely option.

:: 31 January

This is when the EU is likely to extend the Brexit deadline until, although this is not guaranteed.

Three months is what Mr Johnson requested, in order to comply with the so-called Benn Act.

This is the legislation passed by MPs to avoid a no-deal exit on 31 October.

A senior EU source has said that European Council President Donald Tusk will recommend that EU member states accept an extension until the end of January, which can be terminated when or if a Brexit deal is ratified.

Written by BayRadio

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