European Council President Donald Tusk has said that, following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to put the Brexit deal on hold, he would recommend the other 27 European Union member states approve a delay to the UK's departure date.
Mr Tusk said in a tweet that he would also do this in order to avoid a no-deal Brexit.
Earlier this evening, Mr Johnson was forced to put his plans to leave the EU on 31 October on ice after suffering another humiliating defeat in the House of Commons.
MPs voted by 322 to 308 to reject his plan to force legislation approving his deal through the Commons in just three days.
Mr Johnson told MPs he would now "pause" the Withdrawal Agreement Bill until the EU takes a decision on whether to grant another Brexit delay.
However the vote would appear to put paid to his hope of leaving with a deal in nine days' time.
Earlier, MPs had voted by 329 to 299 in favour of the Bill, which was a significant boost for Mr Johnson.
Responding to the votes, Mr Johnson said his government’s Brexit policy has not changed.
He added: "Let me be clear. Our policy remains that we should not delay, that we should leave the EU on October 31st and that is what I will say to the EU and I will report back to the house.
"And one way or another we will leave the EU with this deal, to which this house has just given its assent."
Following PM @BorisJohnson's decision to pause the process of ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, and in order to avoid a no-deal #Brexit, I will recommend the EU27 accept the UK request for an extension. For this I will propose a written procedure.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) October 22, 2019
Speaker John Bercow said the outcome of the vote on the timetable for debating the Bill meant the legislation is now considered to be "in limbo" and will not proceed through the Commons this week as planned.
The government went down to a defeat despite a threat by Mr Johnson to pull the whole Bill and go for a general election if the timetable motion was lost and MPs tried to "delay everything until January or even longer".
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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that his party was prepared to work with the government to agree "a reasonable timetable" to enable the Commons to debate and scrutinise the legislation properly.
"That would be the sensible way forward, and that's the offer I make on behalf of the opposition tonight," he said.
Mr Corbyn's offer potentially opens the way for parliament to approve the Bill before the end of the year, offering Mr Johnson the possibility of taking the UK out with a deal.
But it would mean he would have to accept another extension - something he said he would rather "die in a ditch" than do.
It also opens up increased opportunities for MPs to seek to amend the legislation in ways the government would find unacceptable.
There were already plans to attach a second referendum and a customs union to the Bill, which ministers were determined to resist.
The EU Commission said it has taken note of tonight's result and said it expected the British government to inform it about the next steps.
The Commission said it will now be consulting leaders of the EU 27 on the UK's request for an extension until 31 January 2020.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said in a tweet that he would await further developments from London and Brussels about where the process goes from here.
It's welcome that the House of Commons voted by a clear majority in favour of legislation needed to ennact Withdrawal Agreement. We will now await further developments from London and Brussels about next steps including timetable for the legislation and the need for an extension— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 22, 2019