UK Prime Minister Theresa May will ask the EU to delay BREXIT by at least 3 months after her plan to hold a 3rd vote on the divorce deal was thrown into disarray by a surprise intervention from the speaker of Parliament.
Nearly 3 years after Britain voted narrowly to leave the EU, its departure is uncertain and increasingly impatient European capitals are pressing Mrs. May to spell out how she plans to resolve the crisis before they can agree to an extension.
Possible eventual outcomes still range from a long postponement, leaving with Mrs. May’s deal, a disruptive exit without a deal, or even another referendum.
Tuesday she was writing to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay, her spokesman said. He did not disclose how long a delay she would seek, but said she believed it should be as short as possible.
Mrs. May had earlier warned Parliament that if it did not ratify her deal, she would ask to delay BREXIT beyond 30 June, a step that BREXIT’s advocates fear would endanger the divorce.
Other EU member states were discussing 2 main options: a delay of 2 to 3 months, if Mrs. May persuades them she can clinch a deal at home, or much longer if she accepts that radical reworking of the accord is needed.
The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said an extension would only make sense if it increased the chances of May’s deal being ratified by Britain’s House of Commons.
He said the economic and political costs of a delay for the EU had to be weighed against the potential benefits.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Britain must present a detailed plan on how to push the Mrs. May’s deal through Parliament in order to get EU approval for an extension,
The BBC’s political editor said Mrs. May would ask for an extension until 30 June which could give her another chance to pass her deal, with the option of a delay of up to 2 years.