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Can the UK Government keep its promise that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October?

16 October 2019

 Brexit has dominated the media again this week. With the UK and EU negotiators having ‘entered the tunnel’ in a final attempt to reach a deal prior to the 31 October deadline, the Government’s position remains that the UK will leave the EU on that date with or without a deal.

In this article we discuss the likelihood of the Government being able to keep that promise. Our conclusion is that it is improbable that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, even if a deal is reached this week. In order to ratify a deal, Parliament would also have to approve the framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU and also to pass an Act implementing the Withdrawal Agreement.  MPs are unlikely to remove the obligation on the Government to seek an extension without first having had the time to consider these important instruments. If there is no deal, then the Benn Act is likely to require the UK Government to seek a further extension to the Article 50 period, even if it does not wish to do so.