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Prime Minister's statement after Article 50 extended to 31 October 2019

11 April 2019 (updated on 11 April 2019)

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The Prime Minister made a statement to the Commons after last night announcing that the European Union had approved an extension to Article 50 to 31 October 2019.

Article 50 was previously set to expire on 12 April 2019, and in the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement that could command a Parliamentary majority, or a majority for any other options, the Prime Minister announced last week that she would seek an extension to 30 June 2019.

Addressing the Commons, Mrs May said,

"This whole debate is putting Members on all sides of the House under immense pressure, and causing uncertainty across the country […] Let's use the opportunity of the recess to reflect on the decisions that will have to be made swiftly on our return after Easter. And let us then resolve to find a way through this impasse so that we can leave the European Union with a deal as soon as possible, so that we can avoid having to hold those European Parliamentary Elections, and above all so that we can fulfil the democratic decision of the referendum, deliver Brexit and move our country forward."

Responding, the Leader of the Opposition said;

"Labour will continue to engage constructively in talks [with the Government] because we respect the result of the referendum and we are committed to defending jobs, industry and living standards by delivering a close economic relationship with the European Union and securing frictionless trade with improving rights and standards. If that is not possible, we believe all options should remain on the table, including the option of a public vote."

Extension to Article 50

Seeking an extension to this date was also approved by the House of Commons by the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.5) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on Monday 8 April.

The longer extension agreed was the result of a five hour negotiation between the UK and EU27. In a statement after the meeting, the Prime Minister who had sought the shorter extension said;

"The UK should have left the EU by now and I sincerely regret the fact that I have not yet been able to persuade Parliament to approve a deal which would allow the UK to leave in a smooth and orderly way."

The European Union urged the UK to make use of the extension, which can be curtailed at any point if a withdrawal agreement is reached, and will lapse on 1 June 2019 if the UK fails to hold EU Elections during May.

Image: PA

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