Rebel MPs reveal plans to delay Brexit until 2020 to prevent No Deal exit

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Details of a Bill which aims to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without an agreement have been revealed.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (no 6) Bill will be presented to Parliament by Labour former minister Hilary Benn.

Anti-Brexit protesters outside the Cabinet Office in central London. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Anti-Brexit protesters outside the Cabinet Office in central London. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Mr Benn said: ‘The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the UK does not leave the European Union on the 31 October without an agreement, unless Parliaments consents.’

Mr Benn added: ‘The Bill gives the Government time either to reach a new agreement with the European Union at the European Council meeting next month or to seek Parliament's specific consent to leave the EU without a deal.

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‘If neither of these two conditions have been met, however, by 19th October - ie the day after the European Council meeting concludes - then the Prime Minister must send a letter to the President of the European Council requesting an Article 50 extension until 31 January 2020.

‘The form of the letter is set out in a schedule to the Bill. If the European Council agrees to an extension to the 31 January 2020, then the Prime Minister must immediately accept that extension.’

Mr Benn also said: ‘If the European Council proposes an extension to a different date then the Prime Minister must accept that extension within two days, unless the House of Commons rejects it.

‘The Bill has cross-party support from MPs who believe that the consequences of No Deal for the economy and the country would be highly damaging. No Deal is not in the national interest.’

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The Prime Minister is expected to address the nation from Downing Street at 6pm after chairing a meeting of the Cabinet.

The statement comes ahead of the Commons returning from its summer break on Tuesday when the cross-party alliance of MPs will attempt to launch their plan to block a no-deal Brexit.

Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas tweeted: ‘Pleased to have joined a cross-party group of MPs backing a Bill saying the UK must not leave the EU on Oct 31 without an agreement, unless Parliament consents.’