You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

UK PM May seeks further Brexit extension from EU until June 30


Press Trust of India  |  London 

Embattled Prime Minister Theresa May Friday sought a further extension to the Brexit deadline until June 30 to find a solution to the "frustrating" impasse in Parliament over the terms of Britain's "orderly" divorce from the 28-member economic bloc.

Under the current terms agreed with the European Union, the UK is due to leave the bloc by May 22 if the British Prime Minister's repeatedly-rejected divorce bill clears the House of Commons or crash out without any deal in place by April 12.

In her letter to European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of an EU summit next Wednesday, May told him that while it is "frustrating" that there has been no "orderly" conclusion after her withdrawal agreement was rejected three times by the House of Commons over the controversial Irish backstop clause, the UK remains "strongly committed" to finding a Brexit resolution as soon as possible.

"This impasse cannot be allowed to continue Therefore having reluctantly sought an extension to the Article 50 period last month, the government must now do so again," she wrote.

"The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end on June 30, 2019. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the government proposes that the period should be terminated early," she said.

This further extension to the Article 50 mechanism, first extended from the March 29 deadline last month, means that the UK may now have to contest the European Parliament elections scheduled for May 23.

In her letter, May notes that it is not in the interests of the UK or the EU to go down this route, but accepts it as an inevitable "legal obligation".

She confirms that the UK would begin "contingency" preparations to field candidates for European Parliament polls but will keep working towards getting a withdrawal deal ratified by May 22 in order to avert such a move.

Her letter reads like a long explanation of why Britain has been forced to seek yet another extension and points the finger of blame on British MPs who have not only rejected her withdrawal agreement but also failed to come up with a credible alternative.

"The House has, however, continued to express its opposition to leaving the European Union without a deal. The government agrees that leaving with a deal is the best outcome," she notes.

In her update, May adds that if ongoing cross-party talks with the Labour Party could not establish "a single unified approach" in the UK Parliament MPs would be asked to vote on a series of options instead which the government "stands ready to abide by".

The cross-party Brexit teams are set to continue their talks on striking a Brexit compromise, with Thursday's technical talks described as "productive" according to a statement released after four and a half hours of negotiations between the Tory and Labour frontbench ministers and shadow ministers.

It remains to be seen what kind of a compromise may be worked out amid Labour's demand for a so-called soft Brexit with a permanent Customs Union with the EU, with many in the party also in favour of a second referendum.

Meanwhile, reports coming out of Brussels indicate that the EU is preparing to offer the UK so-called "flextension" of around a year until March 2020, with a break clause to end the extension as soon as a withdrawal agreement was in place.

The move is intended to give the economic bloc some breathing space from having to delve into repeated short extensions every few weeks.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Fri, April 05 2019. 19:11 IST