It's been noted on this site that even if Parliament passes an extension, Parliament can't ask the EU for an extension directly themselves, that the law covering withholding the asking of Royal Assent for a bill is a bit vague, and it's been reported that Labour won't back a General Election, if Boris Johnson was to opt to either:

A) Refuse to give the bill for Royal Assent, or

B) Refuse to ask the EU for an extension (even if he passes the bill for Royal Assent)

What, if anything, could the opposition parties do about it within the timelimit, given they have no intention of calling or backing a General Election.


2 Answers 2


Another option:

Bring a case to the ECJ that the UK hasn't left "in accordance with it's constitutional requirements", and is therefore still in the EU.

  • 1
    That would be an interesting case - I suspect the line taken would be that the notification of intent to leave was in line with constitutional requirements, and that is what matters, but reading the text of Article 50 it's actually less clear than I believed. Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 10:32
  • This would probably not work even if it is heard.
    – user19831
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 11:28
  • To point this out - the UK could avoid the revocation in good faith issue if this were viable
    – user19831
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 11:29
  • 1
    @Orangesandlemons Yes, it's likely to fail. If the EU informed the court that they'd accept such an extension it's more plausible.
    – Caleth
    Commented Sep 5, 2019 at 11:33

If that were to be the case, I believe that the only recourse open to the opposition parties would be to call a vote of no confidence in the government, and attempt to form a caretaker government specifically to ask for an extension within the period set out in the the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.

In the case of option B, there may also be cause for legal action to be pursued against any and all government ministers who do not take whatever actions are required of them by the version of the Benn bill which becomes an act of parliament.

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