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Theresa May asks for Brexit to be delayed until 30 June

Meanwhile, Donald Tusk is expected to suggest a “flexible” 12-month delay.

Brexit Theresa May and Donald Tusk pictured outside No 10 Downing Street in March 2018. Source: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

THERESA MAY HAS asked that Brexit be delayed until 30 June amid ongoing negotiations aimed at getting British MPs to agree a way forward.

The Withdrawal Agreement struck between the British government and the European Union has been rejected by the House of Commons three times in recent months.

“It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion,” the British Prime Minister wrote in a letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, today.

In the letter, May stated that should MPs agree a deal before 30 June, the proposed extension would be “terminated early”. 

However, she added that the UK will continue to prepare to take part in the European Parliament elections in May as a precaution. 

Source: 10 Downing Street

“The Government will want to agree a timetable for ratification that allows the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union before 23 May 2019 and therefore cancel the European Parliament elections, but will continue to make responsible preparations to hold the elections should this not prove possible.”

May said the British government “remains strongly committed” to an orderly Brexit and “will continue to act as a constructive and responsible member state of the European Union in according with the duty of sincere cooperation throughout this unique period”.

‘Flexible’ extension 

It’s understood Tusk will suggest to member states that they offer Britain a flexible 12-month Brexit delay to allow it time to prepare an orderly withdrawal.

“This is Tusk’s idea,” a senior EU official told AFP, confirming news reports. “It will be presented to member states today.”

The European Council last month agreed to delay Brexit until 22 May if MPs backed May’s deal. As the deal was again rejected in the House of Commons, a new deadline of next week was set.

As things stand, Britain is due to leave the EU on Friday, 12 April. An extraordinary EU summit is set to be held on Wednesday, 10 April.

Contains reporting from © AFP 2019  

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Órla Ryan

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