PM May requests 3 months Brexit delay, European Union pushes back

Helping hands French president Emmanuel Macron left speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel

With just days to go until the due to leave, the prime minister has asked for Article 50 to be extended until June 30 at the latest to give her more time to break the deadlock in parliament.

She said she had "expressed frustration" in her speech last night, in which she blamed MPs for the delay, but added "I know that MPs are frustrated too" and she was "very grateful" to those who had supported the deal.

The EU27, in "draft conclusions still under consideration", will limit the Prime Minister's delay because of her refusal to consider European Parliament elections in Britain.

However the European Commission opposes extending British membership of the EU to June 30, according to an EU document seen by Reuters.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier previously warned that the bloc would not grant any delay without a "concrete plan" from Britain about what it planned to do with the extra time.

Talks Theresa May speaks with Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel at the summit
Talks Theresa May speaks with Luxembourg’s prime minister Xavier Bettel at the summit

Secondly, that May not seek to renegotiate the deal.

"With regard to the date of June 30, we have to take into consideration that we have European elections in May", said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Saturday, a march is set to take place in central London calling for a second vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union, with thousands from up and down the country expected to attend. "Motion after motion and amendment after amendment have been tabled without Parliament ever deciding what it wants", she said following another rocky day in which the European Council and the European Commission indicated concerns with her request to delay Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who spoke with Mrs May on Wednesday evening, said: "The Prime Minister has shown tonight she is in complete denial about the scale of the crisis we are facing and unable to offer the leadership the country needs".

France has been one of the strongest in insisting a long Brexit delay should only be granted if there is a big change in British politics, such as a majority for a different kind of future relationship with the EU.

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While he could one day be joined by a sibling in the United States, no move is expected to be made any time soon. "I'm at Manchester and I'm happy".

May said Brexit is what "I am determined" to deliver, it appears that May is doubling down on her strategy has not changed.

"What matters is that we recognise that Brexit is the decision of the British people".

Tusk said in Brussels a short extension to Britain's exit would be possible, but it would be conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons.

He said he feared his hopes for an orderly Brexit agreement with a plan in place to prevent economic and political chaos may prove "frail, even illusory". "I'm on your side". If that vote is passed, the extension will give the House time to consider the Withdrawal Agreement Bill.

An online petition urging the government to cancel Brexit has gained more than 1 million signatures and crashed earlier in the day when it attracted so much traffic. That historic decision might now not happen until within 24 hours of Britain's scheduled exit - very much in keeping with European Union tradition.

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Officials predicted the discussion at Thursday's summit, after Mrs May addressed the 27 remaining leaders, will not be as tense as once expected - when they thought this would be the moment that would decide Britain's fate.

The EU is to reject that plea but instead agree in principle to a shorter extension of article 50 up to 22 May, to avoid any complications from the lack of European elections in the UK.

It still remains far from clear that May will be able to get the withdrawal agreement she signed last November past the House of Commons, and she turned up the heat on her own MPs after the Brexit talks.

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