Theresa May writes to Donald Tusk for Brexit delay until 30 June

Written by Nicholas Mair and Tom Freeman on 5 April 2019 in News

UK asks EU for another extension, but Theresa May criticised as it is only to the end of June

Donald Tusk and Theresa May - PA

Theresa May has requested a further Brexit delay until 30 June to buy her more time to get Commons backing for a deal.

The Prime Minister has written to EU Council president Donald Tusk "reluctantly" asking for another extension to Article 50.

She also confirmed that plans were now underway for the UK to possibly take part in next month's European Parliament elections, despite repeatedly insisting that would not happen.

May previously requested an extension to the end of June but this was rejected at a summit last month. The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 12 April but no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs.

But since then May has finally sat down for compromise talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

In her letter, the Prime Minister said: "I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period… The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end on 30 June 2019.

“If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.”

On the European elections, she said: "The Government will want to agree a timetable for ratification that allows the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union before 23 May 2019 and therefore cancel the European Parliament elections, but will continue to make responsible preparations to hold the elections should this prove not possible.

“It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion.

“The United Kingdom Government remains strongly committed to doing so, and will continue to act as a constructive and responsible Member State of the European Union in accordance with the duty of sincere cooperation throughout this unique period."

Reports from Brussels suggest the EU will only accept a year-long extension. Tusk is said to have described the plan as “the only reasonable way out".

Brexiteer backbench leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said the EU "should be careful what it wishes for".

"If we have EU elections, it is likely UKIP, Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage will do well," he told BBC Radio 4's World at One.

The SNP's Stephen Gethins said that the Prime Minister's letter "demonstrates beyond doubt she is putting the interests of her fractured Tory Party above all else".

"It is clear that with the UK Parliament unable to reach a consensus - coupled with everything we now know on the damaging impact Brexit will have on the UK economy, jobs and living standards - it must now be the priority that the issue is brought back to the people in a fresh second EU referendum, with the option to remain on the ballot paper," he said.




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