Brexit: Theresa May won't say whether she'll quit over long delay

Brexit: Theresa May won't say whether she'll quit over long delay

Two European officials say EU leaders are offering to allow Britain to extend Brexit until October 31 and are awaiting the U.K.'s response.

Britain should be given a reasonable amount of time to work out its exit from the European Union, though the delay to Brexit could be longer than British Prime Minister Theresa May has requested, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday.

Summit chair Donald Tusk tweeted that an extension had been agreed to but gave no details as he went to brief May on the outcome and seek her necessary agreement to the deal.

The prime minister is set to repeat her call to delay Brexit until June 30, with the possibility of an earlier departure if the UK's withdrawal deal is ratified.

May has embarked on a last-ditch battle to postpone Brexit from April 12 to June 30 so as to arrange an orderly departure - but European leaders are expected to offer her a longer delay of up to a year.

"Nothing can be taken for granted", Macron warned, voicing frustration with a lack of clarity from London almost three years after Britons voted to leave the bloc.

Macron is concerned that letting Britain stay too long would distract the EU from other issues - notably next month's European Parliament elections. "It is not certain what that would mean", Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said at the summit.

Leader of the Brexit Party and MEP Nigel Farage speaks to the press inside the EU Council headquarters in Brussels.

Mrs May however told MPs that Britain would already be outside the European Union if they had been prepared to vote for her Withdrawal Agreement.

A former Conservative Brexit minister has refused to rule out voting for a party other than his own if a European election is held.


If Britain does not elect European Union lawmakers, it must leave, with or without a deal, on June 1, according to a draft summit agreement seen by Reuters.

"We are prepared", he said.

In a letter to the leaders of the remaining EU27, Mr Tusk said there was "little reason to believe" that the ratification of Mrs May's beleaguered Brexit deal could be completed by the end of June.

Leaders would meet again in June, EU diplomats said, to assess the situation.

May's future, meanwhile, is uncertain.

"At this stage, in my view, nothing should be taken for granted", Macron told reporters upon his arrival in Brussels.

But she still hopes to get her Brexit deal through parliament so the nation is not forced to vote.

Every British initiative to get a deal has floundered so far. Several days of talks between May's Conservative government and the main opposition Labour Party aimed at finding a compromise have failed to produce a breakthrough.

Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose country shares a border with the United Kingdom and would be among the hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit, said Britain was in "a difficult position". "And of course a lot of people, maybe even half the population, don't want to leave at all", he said.

Related Articles