Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent a letter to the EU requesting a postponement of Brexit by 31 January 2020. Copies of the letter, which circulated in the short message service Twitter, were confirmed as authentic to the SPIEGEL from EU circles. However, a signature of Johnson is missing on the request for renewal.
The unsigned letter was accompanied by a copy of the "Benn Act". The bill was rushed through by the British Parliament in September to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
EU Council President Donald Tusk had previously announced in a tweet that the Brexit extension letter had arrived. He will now start talking to EU leaders about a reaction, Tusk wrote.
The extension request has just arrived. I want now start consulting EU leaders on how to react. #Brexit- Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 19, 2019
In another letter, however, Johnson personally addressed to Tusk and expressed his regret over the failed vote on the new Brexit agreement in the British House of Commons. It is now up to the Council of Europe to decide when to decide on an extension and if it will be approved, Johnson wrote.
Is Here is the letter Boris Johnson has sent to Brussels tonight saying "damage" interests of the EU and UK pic.twitter.com/q6coihbMK3- Mehreen (@MehreenKhn) October 19, 2019
"Although I would have wished for a different outcome today, the government will continue to work on launching the necessary ratification and adoption next week," Johnson wrote. He was confident that this could be achieved by 31 October.
Johnson had previously suffered a defeat in the British House of Commons. The British Parliament had approved an amendment by Oliver Letwin, according to which a ratification law must first be passed before the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Johnson can be decided. (Read all developments of the day in the news blog.)