LOCAL politicians have reacted to the news that the Brexit withdrawal deadline has been delayed until October 31.

The extension was approved by EU leaders following protracted talks in Brussels last night, averting the immediate threat of the UK leaving without a deal.

Under the extension agreement the UK is now dutybound to hold European elections in May, although the country could still exit the EU before October if Theresa May can secure parliamentary support for her withdrawal agreement.

David Mundell, Scottish Secretary and MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, was pleased with the extension but warned of hard work ahead. He said: “First and foremost, I’m pleased we have avoided leaving the EU without a deal.

“My top priority all along has been to avoid a no-deal Brexit and the disruption it would cause.

“Delaying Brexit is not ideal, but Parliament has so far failed to support a withdrawal deal that would allow us to leave in an orderly fashion.

“We have to continue working to achieve that.

“Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has urged us not to waste this extra time. He is right.

“We have avoided no-deal, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

MSP for Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale, Christine Grahame, has demanded that Theresa May holds a second EU referendum and reaffirmed her desire for Scottish independence.

She said: “This extension will come as a relief to those who feared us crashing out without a deal on Friday, however the key question is what is done during this extension - Scotland’s interests must be protected.

“Theresa May must use this time to hold a fresh EU referendum with the option to Remain on the ballot paper.

“The Borders did not vote for Brexit and should not be forced to accept a Brexit deal put together by Labour and the Tories – parties that have ignored Scotland’s voice and interests every step of the way.

“If Labour helps the Tories push through their plans to leave the Single Market, ending freedom of movement - which will cost jobs and hit public services in the Borders and elsewhere - they will not be forgiven at the ballot box in Scotland.

“The UK government’s Brexit fiasco shows clearly that the Borders and indeed Scotland’s interests are best protected through independence.”