Given how adamant the current Prime Minister of the UK is that he will not ask the EU for another extension under any circumstances and that it is now enshrined in law that the PM must seek an extension to prevent a no deal Brexit on 31st October if a no deal hasn't been explicitly approved by parliament.

In these circumstances is the current PM likely to face a criminal investigation and prosecution in the UK law system if he does not comply and if so how likely would he be to face jail time if a prosecution where to take place?

  • 2
    This might get a better and more thorough set of answers over on Law, rather than politics. I believe the short version is that since the new Act doesn't name an offence, the Prime Minister wouldn't be committing a crime, but he could eventually be jailed for (civil) contempt of court for disobeying a subsequent court injunction to follow it.
    – origimbo
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 16:22
  • @origimbo: what about misconduct in public office? cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/misconduct-public-office Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 17:19
  • It seems even political bookies are not taking bets on this, so I don't see how it can be answered objectively, as asked, i.e. "how likely". Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 17:21
  • The reasons given for off topic are wrong, I think it's probably still off topic though because it's asking for the legal consequences which would seem to belong on a different SE?
    – Pelinore
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 21:55

1 Answer 1


The law that requires him to make the request doesn't appear to have any sanction for failing to make it. The political fallout if he doesn't would be....I've no idea, but I don't see how it could lead to being personally jailed by a court.

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    The court could order him too and of he says no I guess that would be "contempt of court" Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 21:06
  • @Benjamin : that looks to be the only way an actual penalty might be applied yes.
    – Pelinore
    Commented Sep 10, 2019 at 21:56
  • @Benjamin - yep. I didn't think of that. I'm not a lawyer, though, and I don't know whether a Court would order that, or what arguments might be brought to court against the Court doing that. Commented Sep 11, 2019 at 14:36

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