France growing exhausted of Brexit chaos after second extension is agreed

May meets EU leaders but Labour talks yet to produce 'clear shift'

The European Council agreed to a six-month extension of the Brexit process here early on Thursday morning, setting a new deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on October 31, 2019, and narrowly avoiding a no-deal scenario that had been scheduled for April 12.

"I never wanted to seek this extension", Mrs May said.

"This is our national duty as elected members of this House - and nothing today is more pressing or more vital".

Consensus, however, was in short supply.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the new delay represented a "diplomatic failure" and typified May's "mishandling of the entire Brexit process". "There's a concern that if there is a Brexiteer prime minister who comes in after Prime Minister May, they might try to cause some trouble".

The British Prime Minister, set for a House of Commons statement to formally update MPs on the latest development, continues to battle mounting pressure from different sides of her own Conservative Party to step away from Downing Street and make way for a different Tory leader to deploy a fresh strategy to Brexit.

Mrs May said Brexit talks with the European Union had been "difficult" but she had fought Britain's corner.

"Let us then resolve to find a way through this impasse, so that we can leave the European Union with a deal as soon as possible", she said.

The bloc had already granted Britain a delay once from the original March 29 deadline.

A cross-party agreement could help her get a deal through by May 22, just in time for Britain to leave the EU without having to take part in European Parliamentary elections at the end of next month.

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"I would expect this is the last delay", Rutte said.

Exhausted members of parliament cheered as the government's leader in the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, announced that as a result of the agreement to delay Brexit, parliament would take a break from the end of Thursday until April 23.

European Council President Donald Tusk and and Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May in Brussels on Wednesday.

Other European leaders signaled that they were satisfied with the extension compromise.

May had come to the summit requesting a delay until June 30 but had acknowledged she would be willing to extend that date.

"On October 31 the British will either have agreed to a deal, have made a decision to cancel Brexit or leave without a deal".

If the United Kingdom fails to take part in elections to the European Parliament on May 23-26, it will automatically leave without a deal on June 1.

The veteran socialist said while the cross-party talks on finding a compromise were constructive and serious, "the red lines must move and we must see a real compromise".

Labour, engaged in Brexit talks with the Conservatives, seeks to retain close economic ties with the European Union after Brexit.

Many in the left-wing Labour Party fear that May, who has indicated she will depart once Brexit is achieved, will be replaced by a staunch Brexiteer like Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary.

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