EU Council President Tusk has tonight confirmed that he will ask the 27 nations of European Union to accept Boris Johnson’s forced request for a three month delay.
Mr Johnson has suggested that a January extension following MPs rejecting the timetable to approve his Withdrawal Bill would see him abandon his deal and call a general election.
Just minutes after MPs rejected the Programme Motion Mr Tusk tweeted: “Following PM Boris Johnson’s decision to pause the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, and in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension.
“For this I will propose a written procedure.”
Mr Johnson reluctantly requested an extension on Saturday, after MPs forced his hand.
In a written letter to the EU, Mr Johnson requested the extension to the end of January 2020 – which Mr Tusk has recommended the EU 27 accept.
In the Commons on Monday the PM was forced to ditch his hardline “do or die” pledge that the UK would leave the EU after the government’s bid to rush the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament was rejected by MPs.
Mr Johnson who had previously said he would rather “die in a ditch” than remain in the European Union from November 1st seemed to concede that his plan was in tatters.
Confirming that his government would pause the Withdrawal Agreement Bill Mr Johnson said: “I will speak to EU member states about their intentions until they have reached a decision – until we reach a decision I will say – we will pause this legislation.”
Earlier in the day Mr Johnson had said if the EU agreed a longer extension and MPs rejected the timetable for the Bill then he would push for a general election.
Mr Johnson said that the Government’s policy remained that we “should not delay and we should leave the EU on October 31”.
But just moments later he added: “One way or another we will leave the EU with this deal to which this House has just given its assent.”
Jeremy Corbyn offered to enter talks with Mr Johnson about the way forward.
Labour’s leader said: “Work with all of us to agree a reasonable timetable, and I suspect this House will vote to debate, scrutinise – and I hope amend – the detail of this Bill.”