Theresa May Sends Letter To EU Asking For Brexit To Be Delayed Until June 30

PM asks Brussels to grant 'short' extension of Article 50.

Theresa May has sent a letter to the EU formally asking for Brexit to be delayed, after the government admitted the country was now officially gripped by “crisis”.

With just days to go until the UK is 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.

It came after pro-Brexit ministers spoke out strongly against a longer delay.

Speaking during PMQs on Wednesday, May appeared to suggest three times she would resign rather than sanction a longer extension.

“As prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June,” she said.

She said a longer delay would lead to the “unacceptable” requirement for the UK to take part in elections to the European Parliament.

But Brussels has said it needs to know “the reason and the usefulness” of any UK request for an extension before deciding whether to grant it.

A spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, said this morning that “patience wearing thin”.

Leaving without a deal on March 29 – next Friday – remains the legal default.

MPs have voted to rule out this option, but without a change in the law the UK will exit next week.

May’s letter was sent ahead of a crucial EU summit in Brussels on Thursday where any extension was expected to be agreed.

But a decision may be postponed to a second emergency meeting next week.

Many Tory Brexiteers are unhappy with any delay at all. Backbencher Peter Bone told the PM to her face today: “If you continue to apply for an extension for Article 50, you will be betraying the British people.”

May’s plan to ask MPs to vote for a third time on her Brexit deal earlier this week was torpedoed by John Bercow.

The Speaker announced it was against parliamentary rules for the government to repeatedly ask the Commons to vote on the same motion until it got the answer it wanted.

A No.10 spokesman said the decision by MPs to twice reject the PM’s deal meant the “situation has come to pass” that there was now a “crisis”.


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