British House of Commons votes in favor of saying goodbye to EU, but does not state a date

Photo by Frederick Tubiermont on Unsplash

The British parliament has approved the agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed in Brussels earlier this month with the EU heads of government on the withdrawal of Britain from EU. Previous agreements from Johnson's predecessor Theresa May were voted out three times. It is the first time that the House of Commons voted in majority in favor of canceling the EU membership.

The House of Commons rejected Prime Minister Johnson's proposal to handle all new laws associated with this Brexit in three days. According to critics, this is technically and legally difficult legislation, which has major consequences and in which no mistakes may be made. These laws deal with how Great Britain will operate separately from the EU, and what will be done with the EU in the coming years.

Moreover, the treatment of all these laws means that politicians can submit amendments and proposals for amendments. In this way the possibility is once again suggested to ask the population about it, in a second Brexit referendum. There is also a good chance that there will be early parliamentary elections and that there will be another government in London in a few months. As a result, it is not yet clear how the British farewell to the EU will ultimately look like. It is not even clear yet whether Brexit will continue.

EU President Donald Tusk has now suggested to the EU countries that they grant the earlier British request to postpone the departure date of the Brexit. Premier Johnson was forced last weekend by the House of Commons to request some delay, forcing Johnson to release his "dreamed" Brexit date of October 31.

Tusk proposes to postpone the delay through a written procedure, so he does not convene a special EU summit. France has indicated that it is open for a "technical extension of a few days". Germany is also open to a short postponement of the Brexit if it is for the right political reason. A short-term delay would allow for a smooth ratification before the UK's departure from the European Union.

It is still unclear whether the EU countries will use the aforementioned date of end-January, or a different formula. However, France does not rule out a reopening of the talks about the agreement.

It is also not yet clear what a possible delay means for the position of a British EU commissioner and for the British MEPs. The EU laws state that countries that participated in European elections on 1 November are entitled to a seat in the European Commission and seats in the European Parliament. It is already known from the new Von der Leyen committee that preparations are under way for a Commission of 27, without a British Commissioner. The vacant seats of the British MEPs have previously been said to be redistributed among the other countries, but the EP has not yet determined what should happen after 1 November.