On Brexit: The Lady is for Waiting

Published March 22nd, 2019 - 02:00 GMT
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (AFP)

British Prime Minister Theresa May will ask the European Union Thursday to delay Brexit until June 30, buying her a few more months to get her deal approved in Parliament.

Before she left, May said MPs have been "unable" to agree on her Brexit deal.

"This delay is a matter of great personal regret for me," May said. "It is high time that we made a decision. All MPs have been willing to say is what they don't want. Nearly three years have passed since the public have voted to leave the European Union ... I came to office on a promise to deliver on that verdict."

She called on MPs to approve her deal and said she doesn't want to delay Brexit passed June 30.

EU President Donald Tusk said the request to delay could be granted but MPs would have to approve May's deal next week.


"Even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and all the Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking until the very last moment a positive solution," Tusk said.

If nothing is done, Britain will leave the EU on March 29 without a deal in place.

Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May's deal has already been rejected twice by parliament.

"It should not be brought back for a third time of asking. Her government is in chaos, and she is arrogantly trying to bully parliament to vote for the same bad deal," Corbyn said. "After serious talks with senior MPs from across parliament, I believe it should be possible to agree a deal with the EU that secures a close economic relationship before the European parliament elections."

He said he's meeting with EU leaders Thursday to push for a plan that protects manufacturing jobs.

"It's time for MPs to work together, find a consensus that can get through parliament, be negotiated with the EU in time and bring leave and remain voters together.

Many MPs have been abused and intimidated and were warned by House of Commons deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to consider their safety when traveling.

"The Brexit process is reaching a critical moment and MPs are the focal point of public attention in a manner that we have rarely seen before," Hoyle said. "The public is looking to us to resolve the current impasse and it is clear that tensions and emotions are running at an all-time high."

French President Emmanuel Macron could vote against delaying Brexit, as could other leaders.

Parliament has three options next week, foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

One would be to revoke Article 50 and cancel Brexit, though that's unlikely. Two would be to call an emergency EU summit to get an extension that could have "onerous conditions." Three would be a no-deal Brexit where Britain crashes out of the EU with no trade deals in place.

"The choice we have no is one of resolving this issue, or extreme unpredictability," Hunt said.


This article has been adapted from its original source.     

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