Theresa May requests Brexit extension to June 30th
May has asked the European Union for a short extension of the Brexit deadline. But it’s unclear whether EU officials will accept a deadline after European parliamentary elections in May.
May told MPs at PMQ’s.
“As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June,”
“I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk, the president of the European Council, informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the article 50 period until the 30th June,” she said.
May also said she would ask Parliament to vote once again on her withdrawal deal, but did not say when the vote would take place. MPs have twice rejected May’s terrible withdrawal agreement with Brussels.
The UK is still scheduled to leave the bloc on March 29 — three years after the UK voted for the withdrawal in the 2016 referendum.
EU Commission against June 30 request
In the lead up to a crucial leaders’ summit in Brussels, EU officials have voiced frustration over the political deadlock in Britain and concern that a delay would make Brexit coincide with European parliamentary elections in May.
The European Commission believes delaying Brexit until June 30 would entail “serious legal and political risks,” according to an internal briefing for EU leaders.
“Any extension offered to the United Kingdom should either last until 23 May 2019 or should be significantly longer and require European elections,” the document said. “This is the only way of protecting the functioning of the EU institutions and their ability to take decisions.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk public radio on Wednesday that the leaders’ meeting was unlikely to end with an agreement about postponing Brexit, which would require unanimous backing by EU leaders.
“We will probably have to meet again next week because Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament,” he said. “She must bring approval of the negotiated deal and she must bring clear ideas on timing.”
Merkel prepared for last-minute struggle
Juncker added that the bloc had already done much to accommodate Britain over its planned split from the bloc and could go no further.
“There will be no renegotiation’s, no new negotiations, no additional guarantees in addition to those already given,” Juncker said. “We have intensively moved towards Britain, there can be no more.”
A third vote on May’s existing deal is by no means impossible but has been made far trickier after Britain’s parliamentary speaker threatened to block another vote on the same deal.
Another solution could be using a delay to convince Parliament to approve a different deal. Other alternatives include Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal — which would see short term disruption of business across the bloc —
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday said she was prepared to “fight to the last hour of the deadline” to secure an orderly exit.
Before May’s announcement, Andrea Leadsom, parliamentary leader and one of May’s senior ministers, had said a short delay was the best option, adding that it was “absolutely essential we are out of the EU” before the European parliamentary elections.
“It would be extraordinary for the people who voted to leave the EU to find us fielding candidates for these next elections,” she told British radio broadcaster LBC.
The Labour Party say a short postponement would essentially allow May to force them to pick between her deal or a no-deal Brexit.
Corbyn said the CBI said the vote to extend article 50 was a dose of common sense. Would May compromise? May said the Commons had voted on and rejected leaving with no deal, Labour’s deal and a customs union. It wanted a deal, she said.
Corbyn said Labour’s plan got more support in the Commons than May’s. The EU has said it would only allow an extension for a clear purpose. Corbyn asked May what it is?
Today marks 1,000 days since the referendum … this government has led the country into crisis, chaos and division. We’re legally due to leave the European Union in nine days’ time. Months of running down the clock and a concerted campaign of blackmail, bullying and bribery has failed to convince the house or the country that her deal is anything but a damaging national failure and should be rejected.