Leaving the EU – Changing Exit Day

A motion to change the date specified in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, was debated on 27 March 2019 following agreement with the EU last week to delay the day of Brexit to either 12 April 2019 or 22 May 2019.

This was introduced as a statutory instrument.

On 15 March, in a statement which the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 obliged her to make following the failure of the 12 March approval motion, the Prime Minister said that the Government would change “exit day” via a Statutory Instrument (SI) under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The date on which the UK leaves the EU is an international matter. After the UK triggered Article 50, the date on which Brexit occurred would be determined by the terms of Article 50. Thus, the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, two years after it notified the EU of its intention to leave, unless an extension has been agreed.

An extension was agreed with the EU and now there are 2 possible end dates, either 22 May 2019 or 12 April 2019, dependent on whether the UK Parliament has ratified the the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration before 11:00 pm (GMT) on 29 March 2019.

More information can be found in a useful blog post at

Changing EU “exit day” by Statutory Instrument

Following debate the motion was put to a vote, and approved:

That the draft European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) Regulations 2019, which were laid before this House on 25 March, be approved.

Ayes: 441 Noes: 105


Statutory instruments are the most common form of secondary (or delegated) legislation. The power to make a statutory instrument is set out in an Act of Parliament and nearly always conferred on a Minister of the Crown. The Minister is then able to make law on the matters identified in the Act, and using the parliamentary procedure set out in the Act. SIs may follow affirmative or negative procedure, or have no procedure at all, but which to use is fixed by the Act.