The Latest: EU envoys agree that Brexit extension is needed
BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s impending departure from the European Union (all times local):
EU ambassadors have agreed on the principle of granting Britain’s request for another extension to the Brexit deadline but have yet to decide on the length of the new delay.
Speaking Friday after EU ambassadors met with the EU Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said ambassadors “have agreed to the principle of an extension” and their work will “continue in the coming days.”
Britain is scheduled to leave the 28-nation bloc on Oct. 31 but has asked for a three-month extension to that deadline.
A European diplomat, speaking anonymously because discussions are ongoing, said EU ambassadors will meet again on Monday to discuss the length of the Brexit extension.
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Britain’s main opposition party says it will block plans for an early election unless Prime Minister Boris Johnson eliminates the possibility of leaving the European Union without an agreement.
Johnson on Thursday said he would give Parliament additional time to debate his EU withdrawal agreement if lawmakers approve a Dec. 12 general election.
Diane Abbott, the Labour Party’s spokeswoman on domestic affairs, says her party won’t vote for an election until the government guarantees there won’t be a no-deal Brexit, because Labour doesn’t trust Johnson.
Abbott told the BBC on Friday that “we want to know that by some mischance we won’t crash out of the EU without a deal, because we’ve said for some time that coming out of the EU without a deal would be absolutely disastrous.”
European Union ambassadors are meeting in Brussels to discuss what kind of extension to the Brexit deadline they could propose to Britain.
There is a large consensus among the 27 ambassadors to delay Britain’s scheduled Oct. 31 departure from the bloc after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sealed a new deal with the EU, but they have yet to agree on the length of the extension.
It remains unclear whether an announcement will be made before next week.
Under an amendment passed by British lawmakers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to send a letter to the EU requesting an extension. If it is granted, Johnson plans to ask Parliament to approve an early national election to be held on Dec. 12. He says it’s the only way to break Britain’s Brexit impasse.