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PM accepts extension offered by EU

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written a letter to EU President Donald Tusk accepting an extension to the period allowed under Article 50(3) to January 31 2020.



The Prime Minister

28 October 2019

Dear Donald

I refer to the draft European Council Decision EUCO XT 20024/1/19 REV 1, which extends to 31 January 2020 the period under Article 50 TEU. As you are well aware, I have no discretion under the UK’s European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019, which was imposed on this Government against its will, to do anything other than confirm the UK’s formal agreement to this extension, as per the attached draft Decision.

I must make clear my view that this unwanted prolongation of the UK’s membership of the EU is damaging to our democracy and to the relationship between us and our European friends. While we will of course not seek to deliberately disrupt the EU’s business, I must underline that I continue to have a responsibility as Prime Minister to protect the UK’s national interests during this period, including in EU decision-making.

I would have much preferred it if the UK Parliament could have proceeded rapidly to ratify the deal we reached between us. Unfortunately I very much fear that this Parliament will never do so as long as it has the option of further delay. That is why I am seeking a General Election in December to ensure the election of a fresh Parliament which is capable of resolving the issue in accordance with our constitutional norms.

But, in case Parliament resists this too, I would also urge EU Member States to make clear that a further extension after 31 January is not possible. This is plenty of time to ratify our deal. It will avoid this Parliament simply extending our membership again and again, distracting from the good conduct of the business of the European Union, and corroding public trust in politics in the UK.

I very much hope that we can soon put this difficult period behind us, and move forward rapidly to ending our EU membership and beginning the negotiations on the future Free Trade Agreement and the future partnership of friends which will come with it.

I am copying this letter to members of the European Council, the President of the Commission and the President of the European Parliament.

Yours sincerely

Boris Johnson

Operation Brock is activated on the M20

Highways England announced today (Monday 28 October) that the Operation Brock contraflow on the M20 in Kent is now active.


Drivers of lorries weighing more than 7.5 tonnes heading for Eurotunnel or the Port of Dover on the M20 should follow signs directing them onto the coastbound carriageway of the M20 between junction 8 for Maidstone and junction 9 for Ashford. A 30mph speed limit is in place and, in the event of disruption at the ports, lorries could be queued on this section of motorway.

All other drivers can continue their journeys as normal. On the M20, two lanes remain open to traffic in each direction between junctions 8 and 9, using a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway, with a 50mph speed limit in place.

Operation Brock is the name for a series of measures that improve Kent’s resilience in the event of cross-channel disruption. It has stages that can be deployed sequentially, scaling up or down to meet demand. In addition to the M20 contraflow, lorries can be routed to Manston Airfield and, if needed, the M26 motorway can be closed and used to queue HGVs too. The operation is an interim measure which was successfully deployed in March 2019, and crucially keeps the M20 open in both directions using a contraflow system.

It has been deployed now in response to potential delays at the ports in the coming days or weeks. Its deployment will be kept under continual review and it will be stood down when it is no longer needed.

Will there be a General Election in December 2019 ?

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MPs are due to debate and vote on a motion later today (28 October 2019), in the House of Commons, to hold an early General Election on December 12 2019. Under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, an early election can only take place if it is supported by at least two thirds of MPs.

If agreed, the PM will attempt to pass the legislation for the current deal in the time before Parliament is dissolved (6 November 2019).

Labour have indicated that they will not support the motion.

The SNP and Liberal Democrats parties together have proposed their own plan to trigger an election. This, they say, could be achieved by introducing a Bill to amend the Fixed Term Parliament Act and setting a specific date of 9 December 2019 for the next General Election.

EU Agree Further Extension for Brexit

Donald Tusk announced this morning (28 October 2019) that the EU 27 has agreed to accept the UK (Parliament) request for an extension to the period under Article 50 (3) until 31 January 2020.

After 942 days since Article 50 was invoked, another extension (Jan 31 2020) to the extension (Oct 31 2019) of the extension (Apr 12 2019) of the negotiation period (Mar 29 2019) allowed under Article 50 has been agreed by the EU27. With option to leave on Dec 1 2019 or 1 Jan 2010.

All these extensions are playing havoc with my Countdown to Brexit


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – DExEU

A number of documents were issued on 22 October 2019 by the Department for Exiting the EU including Fact Sheets and Impact Assessments related to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.

The EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill is required to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, as agreed between the United Kingdom and the European Union, and implement the Agreements (EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss) in domestic law. This Bill ensures that the United Kingdom is able to fulfil its international obligations, and leave the European Union with a deal.

Documents include:

EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Delegated Powers Memorandum (PDF, 3.56MB, 104 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Explanatory Notes


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill ECHR Memorandum (PDF, 138KB, 10 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Impact Assessment (PDF, 739KB, 69 pages)


Regulatory Policy Committee opinion on the Impact Assessment of the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (PDF, 275KB, 15 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Overview (PDF, 970KB, 8 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Citizens’ rights (PDF, 891KB, 10 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Northern Ireland (PDF, 1.25MB, 8 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Implementation period (PDF, 1.33MB, 8 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Finance Authority (PDF, 1.19MB, 6 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – EEA EFTA Separation Agreement (PDF, 1.15MB, 10 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement (PDF, 948KB, 10 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (PDF, 1.15MB, 8 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Workers’ Rights (PDF, 1.12MB, 6 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Parliamentary Oversight of Withdrawal (PDF, 995KB, 8 pages)


EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill Fact Sheet – Other Separation Issues (PDF, 981KB, 6 pages)


Further information on the Bill can be found in the relevant documents listed above, available from: