Brexit: UK asks European Union for further extension until June 30

Chloe Chaplain     2 hours Wednesday April 3rd 2019   
 


	
		
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		Brexit

The Prime Minister wrote to European Council president Donald Tusk on Friday requesting the delay to Brexit, which would otherwise happen at 11pm on April 12.

Tusk is understood to prefer a year-long extension, which could be shortened if and when the United Kingdom ratifies a withdrawal deal, the BBC reported.

Article 50 states that an an extension requires unanimous support from all member countries of the EU.

"The government's policy has always been and remains to leave the European Union in an orderly way, and without undue delay".

Leo Varadkar has suggested that a longer Brexit extension would make more sense for the European Union than Theresa May's request for a deadline of June 30.

The Prime Minister said she had done "everything in my power" to persuade Tory and DUP MPs to back her deal but acknowledged the Withdrawal Agreement had been rejected by the Commons three times and "there is no sign it can be passed in the near future".

According to British press reports, May is due to write to member states on Friday to lay out her request for an extension.

British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, Britain, April 3, 2019.

"I think that Theresa May is looking for political cover because she is asking for an extension she knows she can't get, so that the EU can force her to do something else so that at least she won't get accused of selling out", said King's College European politics professor Anand Menon.

The Labour Party said in a statement Friday it is "disappointed" that May's team is not offering real change.

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Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has told the BBC that if they fail, the delay is "likely to be a long one".

"The fact is that on Brexit there are areas where the two main parties agree: we both want to end free movement, we both want to leave with a good deal, and we both want to protect jobs".

In her letter, Mrs May said that if ongoing talks with Labour do not lead to a "single unified approach soon" then the Government would instead look to establish a "consensus" on options on a future relationship that could be put to the Commons.

She is now racing against the clock in a desperate bid to get her proposals approved in time for the Brussels summit so that Britain can avoid taking part in the European vote.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, believes he has hit on a compromise solution: his "flextension", which would last a year with the United Kingdom able to walk away from it as soon as Parliament ratifies the Brexit deal.

The cross-party talks are risky for both the Conservatives and Labour, with each party split down the middle over Brexit.

France, which wants the European Union to move on to other business including a package of reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron, indicated it was not ready to accept an extension unless Britain presented a clear plan for the future: "We're not there today", a source close to Macron told Reuters.

Her letter reads like a long explanation of why Britain has been forced to seek yet another extension and points the finger of blame on British MPs who have not only rejected her withdrawal agreement but also failed to come up with a credible alternative.

Pressed on whether any agreement must have a second referendum attached to it, she told Today: "We are not saying anything definitively but we have a position".

"We are ready to hold further detailed discussions this weekend in order to seek any such changes in the run up to European Council on Wednesday".

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