Macron enrages European Union leaders after opposing long Brexit extension

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Andrea Leadsom Merkel should reopen withdrawal deal

Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Andrea Leadsom Merkel should reopen withdrawal deal

The prime minister is set to repeat her call to delay Brexit until June 30, with the possibility of an earlier departure if the UK's withdrawal deal is ratified.

The second extension to the Brexit process - initially meant to conclude on March 29 - definitively stopped the clock on a no-deal withdrawal on Friday with less than 48 hours to go. "So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach consensus on a deal that is in the national interest", she added, acknowledging the coming weeks would not be easy.

The decision heads off a no deal exit this Friday, mitigating the prime minister's parroted position that no deal is better than a bad deal - it's not, it would have to be a fucking awful deal. The Prime Minister doesn't want to see a long extension. The Government has agreed a deal with the EU.

However, European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested EU leaders grant the United Kingdom a longer extension to Brexit than Mrs May has requested. "We do not want to import Britain's political crisis into the European Union", said an Élysée official.

He said the United Kingdom could still leave before that date if it got an agreement through Parliament in time and that ministers were committed to leaving at the "earliest opportunity".

"I don't want to see a long extension".

"If we are going through that process of trying to get Parliament to support a deal to find a way of breaking this deadlock, then Theresa May continues to be right person to lead us through that process".

The depth of the anger within the Tory ranks was underlined by a Commons vote on Tuesday, when 97 Tory MPs voted against a motion backing Mrs May's call for an extension which only passed with the support of opposition MPs.

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Tusk, a former Polish premier who has long tried to keep a door open for Britons to change their minds and stay, said the delay until Halloween gave time for London to ratify May's deal, tweak elements of the future EU-UK relationship to Labour's liking - or give it a chance to "cancel Brexit altogether".

Mr Macron said he was "impatient" to hear what Mrs May had to say.

Sir Bill, who represents Stone in Staffordshire, has made the legal action threat in a letter sent to European Council President Donald Tusk today.

Mr Tusk wrote: "The UK would be free to leave whenever it is ready".

The government has said it will prepare for the United Kingdom to take part in European elections on 23 May if Brexit hasn't taken place yet, but Mrs May insists that can still be avoided.

The unanimous agreement of all 27 remaining European Union states is needed to avoid a no-deal Brexit on the scheduled date of April 12.

They will then meet for dinner without her to agree a response to the UK's extension request.

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