Shortly before the European Council in mid-October, Boris Johnson negotiated an amended withdrawal agreement. The question of how the border between Ireland, an EU member state, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, can remain open after Brexit has been raised again. Boris Johnson has also agreed with Brussels on a political declaration providing for a free trade agreement between the EU and Britain by the end of 2020. On 10 April 2019, the European Council unanimously decided to extend Article 50 and postpone the withdrawal of the United Kingdom until 31 October 2019. By further extending the deadline, the EU has given the UK more time to clarify at national level the main issues of the adoption of the Withdrawal Agreement and the organisation of the future relationship. To learn more, click here. Cameron has made it clear that his successor as prime minister should activate Article 50 and start negotiations with the EU.  Among the candidates for the conservative leadership election, there have been disagreements over when this should be: Theresa May said the UK needed a clear negotiating position before triggering Article 50 and that she would not do so in 2016, while Andrea Leadsom said she would trigger it as soon as possible.  In this article, we discuss the likelihood that the government will be able to keep this promise. Our conclusion is that it is unlikely that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, even if an agreement is reached this week. To ratify an agreement, Parliament would also have to approve the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU and adopt a law transposing the Withdrawal Agreement. It is unlikely that MPs will lift the government`s obligation to request an extension without having had time to consider these important instruments.
If there is no agreement, the Benn Act will likely require the UK government to ask for a further extension of the Article 50 deadline, even if it does not want to. Unfortunately, the UK government seems anxious to achieve many of the adverse effects of an extension of the Article 50 period by requesting a “transitional period” during which the UK would remain obliged to make payments into the EU budget, as if it were still a Member State, and was still required to comply with EU law and be subject to ECJ case law. The difference between this and the extension of membership under Article 50 is that the UK will no longer have a vote on EU legislation that concerns us or representatives in the EU institutions. . . .