Brexit Q&A: What happens next?

A vote on the latest deal has been sought on Monday but there is no guarantee it will happen

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has sent an unsigned letter to the European Union requesting a delay to Britain's exit from the bloc, as well as a second note saying he did not want a "deeply corrosive" Brexit extension.

He was required by law to send the first letter, after parliament voted on Saturday to withhold its approval of his Brexit deal until it has passed legislation to formally ratify the agreement, but what happens next?

When will the latest agreement be debated?

House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Saturday that the government planned to put the exit deal to a debate and vote on Monday.

House speaker John Bercow said he would rule whether that would be allowed after several MPs said it would break with parliamentary convention as the same question cannot be put twice during the same session.


“I will reflect on the matter, absorbing what colleagues say and consulting others for their advice, and I will report to the House on Monday,” Mr Bercow said. “The government are not the arbiter of what is orderly.”

Isn’t there a Scottish court watching?

Scotland’s highest court, the Court of Session, is due to consider on Monday a legal challenge that sought to force Mr Johnson to comply with the so-called Benn Act. The act required him to write the extension letter if parliament had not approved either a deal or a no-deal exit by Saturday.

Anti-Brexit campaigners had asked the court earlier this month for it either to issue an order forcing Mr Johnson to ask for a delay or to instruct that a letter be sent to the EU on his behalf if he refused.

The court, has not yet ruled on the matter and was waiting to do so pending developments up to Saturday. But it said this month that government lawyers had given formal legal statements that Mr Johnson would abide by the Benn Act and it would be a serious matter if he did not.

How long will Brexit legislation take to pass?

Mr Johnson told parliament that “next week the government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the EU with our new deal on October 31st”. It is widely expected to have its first main stage of debate on Tuesday.

Senior minister Michael Gove said on Sunday that the government would seek to get the legislation required through parliament in order to leave the EU on October 31st.

MPs will have the opportunity to bring changes to the legislation and Labour said on Sunday that it would put forward amendments including on issues such as protecting worker’s rights and closing the “trap door” to a no-deal Brexit at the end of a transition period in December of next year. Other changes proposed are also likely to include the need for a confirmatory referendum on the agreement.

Has the EU accepted the request to delay Brexit?

European Council chairman Donald Tusk said on Saturday that he had received the extension request and would consult with EU capitals on how to react. EU leaders are unlikely to deny the request but diplomats on Sunday said the bloc would play for time rather than rush to decide on the delay request.

“We’re looking for more clarity towards the end of the week, hoping that by that time we will also see how things develop in London,” one said.

Mr Gove said the EU was “waiting to see what parliament does now”.

Could there be a UK election?

Both the Conservatives and Labour Party say they want an election but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not back any move to hold one until a no-deal Brexit is ruled out.