As we have reported previously, the result of the European Union referendum (Brexit) was announced on 24 June 2016 with a vote in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the EU.
We have issued a series of Brexit updates since the date of the referendum. To access such prior alerts, please visit our Brexit page.
Definition of EU “exit day” changed again in UK law as UK Parliament extends Article 50 to 31 October 2019
On 11 April 2019, the UK government made the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/859) (the “Regulations”) to postpone the day that the UK will leave the EU (the “Exit Day”) from 12 April 2019 to 31 October 2019. The Regulations have caused a further change to the definition of Exit Day in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 following the previous extension that we reported on 2 April 2019.
The decision to amend the definition of Exit Day as 31 October 2019 followed talks between the UK and the EU at a European Council summit held on 10 April 2019. In light of the latest extension to Exit Day, EU Council President Donald Tusk stated that the ongoing course of Brexit “will be entirely in the UK’s hands”, noting that the UK can still ratify the Brexit deal that has been agreed with the EU (the “Withdrawal Agreement”), although this has not been approved by the UK Parliament.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, responded to the announcement of the extension to Exit Day by commenting that the UK must press on at pace with its efforts “to reach consensus on a deal that is in the national interest”. Mrs May’s Conservative Party have been in negotiations with the Labour Party, which together hold 559 of 650 seats in the UK Parliament, in an attempt to find common ground to pass an amended version of the Withdrawal Agreement through the UK Parliament, subject to the EU’s approval. In the event that a version of the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved and ratified before 23 May 2019, the UK will be required to hold European Parliament elections or face leaving the EU without a deal.
As a result of the continued deadlock in the UK Parliament, there remains no certainty about the exact Brexit outcome. We will keep clients updated as matters continue to unfold.
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