UCL European Institute


Extending Article 50: Legal and Political Considerations

15 March 2019

Art 50

Extending Article 50: Legal and Political Considerations


After voting against Theresa May’s Brexit deal (for the second time) on Tuesday 12 March 2019, against no-deal on Wednesday 13 March, and against a second referendum on Thursday 14 March, MPs have voted in favour of a motion to extend Article 50, by 412 votes to 202. Although this does not automatically mean extension will happen, it is a politically and constitutionally decisive expression of the will of the UK Parliament. The motion instructs the UK government to seek an extension of Article 50 from the EU. 

This paper explores the legal and political considerations relating to Article 50 extension. It asks: 

  • How can Article 50 be extended? 
  • What are the likely extension scenarios? 
  • Will the EU grant the UK an extension? 
  • How long would extension be for? 
  • Could Article 50 be revoked? 

This is a UCL European Institute Brexit Insights Paper


Oliver Patel - Research Associate and Manager, UCL European Institute
Clément Leroy - Research and Policy Engagement Associate, UCL European Institute 

Read the paper (pdf)