EU leaders agree to further delay Brexit – European Council President Tusk
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EU leaders at an emergency summit in Brussels have agreed to delay a ruling on Brexit, European Council president Donald Tusk said, granting UK PM Theresa May the reprieve she had asked for.
The Brexit deadline has been extended to October 31, with another review scheduled for June, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has indicated.
Tusk announced he would meet with May to confirm the UK government’s agreement to the extension of Article 50, though he did not disclose the length of the extension himself. The UK Parliament backed May’s proposal to extend the deadline to June 30 earlier this week, while Tusk recently proposed a delay of up to a year.
The extension means the UK will be obligated to take part in next month’s EU parliamentary elections.
May wrote to Tusk seeking an extension on Brexit last week, after three failed attempts to pass her Brexit deal through Parliament left the UK facing the possibility of being bounced out of the EU without a deal on Friday.
The UK PM has said she believes June 30 offers ample time for the warring factions of her government to agree on a deal, though she told members of the EU council on Wednesday that she would accept a longer extension as long as it included a “get-out-early clause” in case an agreement was reached. She even hinted this could happen as soon as May 22, avoiding the issue posed by an outward-bound UK having a say in EU elections.
May and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn plan to resume discussions on Thursday. Talks to work out a trans-partisan compromise appeared to stall last week, with May unable to offer “real change or compromise” in the form of policy concessions or amendments to her proposed deal, according to Labour representatives.
Corbyn has joined members of May’s own Conservative party in calling for her resignation over her bungling of Brexit. While she has said in the past that she’d step down after negotiating safe passage out of the EU, she has also declared that “as prime minister” she would not let the country remain in the bloc past June 30. May survived a no-confidence vote in December, and lawmakers must wait until the end of the year to try again.
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