Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

Risk of no-deal Brexit has just risen sharply

Syndicate Post image Prime Minister Theresa May requested an extension to the end of June
Steven Clarke | 21 March, 2019, 04:12

The prime minister's letter to the European council president, Donald Tusk, seeks an extension to article 50 until 30 June.

She will go to Brussels on Thursday to make a formal request to the other 27 European Union leaders for an extension to the two-year Article 50 negotiation process.

European Union leaders, who are exasperated by Britain's Brexit melodrama, will only grant the extension if May can win the U.K. Parliament's approval next week for her twice-rejected Brexit deal. It may not. France, in particular, has said that it is willing to veto any extension that simply delays departure without any clear way an extension could resolve the current deadlock.

Nevertheless, there was said to be concern among some ministers that Brexit appeared to be slipping away.

"As you know we don't discuss the regular conversations the Prime Minster has with members of her Cabinet...and I'm not going to start now", a spokesman replied when asked to provide a "yes" or "no" answer on if May's top team supported the plan.

A "short extension" of Article 50 is possible, Tusk hinted on Wednesday - while the president of the EU Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, stressed that London and Brussels must seal the deal before European Parliament elections on May 23.

"As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June", Mrs May told a rowdy session of Parliament. "This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me", May said in Downing Street, ruling out any notion of a second Brexit plebiscite.

Mr Tusk later spoke of his commitment to securing a "positive solution" to Brexit, indicating that he did not want the United Kingdom to leave the bloc without a deal.

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Instead she has asked the European Council for a delay until the end of June. I agree. I am on your side. "It is now time for MPs to decide".

"To continue to bring back her damaging and twice rejected deal without significant changes, while threatening a no deal outcome ruled out by MPs, is unacceptable and reckless".

"Although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we can not give up seeking until the very last moment a positive solution", he said.

"We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events and I am confident that also now we will not lack the same patience and goodwill at this most critical point in this process".

Aides declined to name a date for the third "meaningful vote" - known in Westminster as MV3 - but said it would happen "as soon as possible". The eldest son of US President Donald Trump in a column for the Daily Telegraph criticised Prime Minister Theresa May and her handling of Brexit.

The European People's Party group proposed on Wednesday the suspension of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party.

A Labour spokesman said it was "not the meeting that had been agreed" and that they were in discussions with No 10 about a separate bilateral meeting between Mr Corbyn and Mrs May.

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