EU prepares to grant UK three-month Brexit extension as general election looms

France ‘drops opposition’ to longer delay as path clears to December poll

The EU will grant the UK a Brexit extension until 31 January next year, after the French government dropped its objections to the delay.

A source close to French President Emmanuel Macron said the agreement would “very probably” be announced on Monday October 28. Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held discussions over the weekend.

The new extension would let the UK leave earlier if a deal was ratified before the January 31 deadline. In that case, the UK would quit the EU on the first day of the month after the deal was signed.

A draft agreement, seen by the Guardian and to be distributed to EU member states on Monday, says: “The period provided for in article 50 (3) TEU as extended by the European council decision (EU) 2019/584 is hereby further extended until 31 January 2020.”

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Ambassadors for the 27 EU states are meeting on Monday morning. Sources close to the negotiations say the extension would come with conditions, chiefly a refusal to renegotiate Johnson’s Brexit deal.

France was persuaded to drop its objections to the three-month extension after political developments in the UK over the weekend appeared to bring the prospect of a general election closer. Downing Street has left open the possibility of agreeing to proposals by two smaller opposition parties – the Liberal Democrats and Scottish National Party – for a poll on December 9. That would effectively sidestep the Labour Party’s ability to veto an election.

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