The European Union will delay Brexit until February 2020 if British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is unable to get his deal past parliament this week, The Sunday Times reports.
Diplomatic sources quoted in the report said the delay would be “fungible,” meaning that Britain could leave earlier, on November 1 or 15, December or January, if Johnson’s deal is ratified before the extension ends.
However, no decision will be taken until EU governments have the chance to assess the chances of the withdrawal treaty getting through parliament before Tuesday this week, the newspaper said.
EU diplomats and officials told the Reuters news agency on Sunday that, depending on the next developments in London, extension options range from just an additional month until the end of November to half a year or longer.
The report comes a day MPs voted to force Johnson into seeking a delay beyond October 31.
The British Prime Minister later wrote to Brussels asking for a Brexit extension, but also refused to sign the letter and sent a second signed letter insisting he was not seeking an extension to the Brexit deadline, which has already been postponed twice.
A third letter written by Britain's EU ambassador Tim Barrow explained that the Brexit delay letter was only being sent to comply with the law.
Being forced to send the letter after Saturday's defeat was a blow to Johnson, who has declared in the past he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than prolong the process of ending Britain's 46-year-old membership of the EU.
Johnson has already suffered several defeats in the Brexit process since taking over as Prime Minister from Theresa May.
The vote allowed the opposition and rebels to take control of parliamentary business and bring to a vote the law forcing Johnson to ask the EU to delay Brexit until January 31 unless he has a deal approved by parliament beforehand on the terms and manner of the exit.
In response to that move, Johnson sought to hold early elections, but parliament twice voted to reject that motion.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)