Boris Johnson has sent three letters to the EU relating to an extension to article 50, after he was forced to do so by the so-called Benn act. The first letter was the legally mandated request for a three-month delay to Brexit, which Johnson has not signed. There is a covering letter from Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, explaining the point of the previous letter. A third letter was sent from Johnson saying he does not want an extension. Here are the three letters, plus a fourth in which Johnson petitioned peers and MPs to back his deal.
Unsigned letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European council
Dear Mr President
I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty. The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end at 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Covering letter from Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to EU
As the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the European Union, I invite your attention to the following matter.
Attached is a letter sent as required by the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019.
In terms of the next steps for parliamentary process, Her Majesty’s Government will introduce the necessary legislation next week in order to proceed with ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.
I would be grateful for your acknowledgement of receipt of this letter.
Sir Tim Barrow
Johnson’s personal letter to Tusk
It was good to see you again at the European Council this week where we agreed the historic new deal to permit the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on October 31.
I am deeply grateful to you, President Juncker and to all my fellow European leaders for the statesmanship and statecraft which enabled us to achieve this historic milestone. I should also register my appreciation for Michel Barnier and his team for their imagination and diplomacy as we concluded the negotiations.
When I spoke in Parliament this morning, I noted the corrosive impact of the long delay in delivering the mandate of the British people from the 2016 referendum. I made clear that, while I believe passionately that both the UK and the EU will benefit from our decision to withdraw and develop a new relationship, that relationship will be founded on our deep respect and affection for our shared culture, civilisation, values and interests.
We will remain the EU’s closest partner and friend. The deal we approved at last week’s European Council is a good deal for the whole of the UK and the whole of the EU.
Regrettably, Parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement. The UK Parliament Representative will therefore submit the request mandated by the EU (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019 later today.
It is, of course, for the European Council to decide when to consider the request and whether to grant it. In view of the unique circumstances, while I regret causing my fellow leaders to devote more of their time and energy to a question I had hoped we had resolved last week, I recognise that you may need to convene a European Council.
If it would be helpful to you, I would of course be happy to attend the start of any A50 Council so that I could answer properly any question on the position of HM Government and progress in the ratification process at that time.
Meanwhile, although I would have preferred a different result today, the Government will press ahead with ratification and introduce the necessary legislation early next week. I remain confident that we will complete that process by 31 October.
Indeed, many of those who voted against the Government today have indicated their support for the new deal and for ratifying it without delay. I know that I can count on your support and that of our fellow leaders to move the deal forward, and I very much hope therefore that on the EU side also, the process can be completed to allow the agreement to enter into force, as the European Council Conclusions mandated.
While it is open to the European Council to accede to the request mandated by Parliament or to offer an alternative extension period, I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister, and made clear to Parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us.
We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundations of our long history as neighbours and friends in this continent our peoples share. I am passionately committed to that endeavour.
I am copying this letter to Presidents Juncker and Sassoli, and to members of the European Council.
Johnson’s letter to MPs and peers
I wrote to you on Friday to outline why our new deal allows this country to take back control, get Brexit done and let the country move on.
I have made clear that I do not want more delay. European leaders have made clear they do not want more delay. It is to my great regret that today the House has voted for more delay.
The public want us to get Brexit done so the country can move on. The best thing for the United Kingdom and the European Union is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31.
I will not negotiate a delay with the European Union. I will tell the EU what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.
That is why next week this Government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the European Union with our great new deal on October 31.
It is quite possible that our friends in the European Union will reject Parliament’s request for further delay (or not take a decision quickly). In these circumstances, I hope colleagues on all sides of the House will – faced with a choice of our new deal or no deal – support this new deal.
Colleagues, more than three years after the British people voted to leave the European Union, they expect us to finally deliver on our promises. They expect us to get Brexit done, so we can all move on and focus on the people’s priorities.
I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31 so the country can move on – and I hope I can count on your support in doing so.
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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.