Issued by the Government Press Office
Check Against Delivery
I welcome the House of Commons vote for an extension as it reduces the likelihood of a cliff edge, no-deal Brexit on March 29th. But we now need to hear from London about what purpose an extension would serve and how long it would last.
There seem to be two emerging options: ratification of the withdrawal agreement followed by a short extension into the summer, or a much longer extension that would give the UK time and space to decide what they want to do, including considering options that had been taken off the table like participation in the customs union and single market.
I think we need to be open to any request they make, listen attentively and be generous in our response.
This matter will be now discussed further at next week’s European Council meeting and hopefully we will have more clarity from London in the meantime about their intentions. Unanimity by the 27 will be required for any extension.