Jean-Claude Juncker causes mass confusion by appearing to rule out further extension to Article 50

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, caused hysteria on social media when he appeared to rule out granting the U.K. a further extension to Article 50 should Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, fail to get his draft agreement through the House of Commons on Saturday.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 3:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th October 2019, 4:44 pm
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, ahead of the opening sessions of the European Council summit at EU headquarters in Brussels on Thursday. (Photo: P.A. Wire/Stefan Rousseau)

“Anyway there will be no prolongation,” said Mr. Juncker.

“We have concluded a deal and so there is not an argument for further delay - it has to be done now.”

Some interpreted Mr. Juncker’s comment as him saying if M.P.s refuse to back the deal on Saturday the U.K. will not be given an extension, which would subsequently lead to the U.K. crashing out of the E.U. without a deal.

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The confusion was shortlived however when journalists and politicians tweeted saying Mr. Juncker does not have the authority to rule out or in a request to extend Article 50.

“About to get on a plane back but just on Juncker’s words on extension. EU source says: “It’s not in his gift to rule it out, he is just defending the deal and saying one shouldn’t be needed...I am 100% certain EU27 would permit an extension if deal falls on Saturday,” tweeted Sky News Political Correspondent, Lewis Goodall.

Prime Minister Johnson arrived in Brussels on Thursday where both he and European Union officials revealed a Brexit deal had been agreed.

Mr. Johnson will attempt to get his draft agreement passed through the House of Commons on Saturday.

However, the DUP, Labour, SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have all signalled a reluctance to support the agreement.

If the deal is defeated on Saturday, Mr. Johnson is legally bound to write a letter to the European Union requesting an extension to Article 50.