United Kingdom finance minister sees deal with Labour on Brexit

EP approves visa-free travel for British after Brexit

EP approves visa-free travel for British after Brexit

Amid continuing chaos over Brexit, with Britain's prime minister seeking another delay on the exit date, the European Parliament Thursday ratified a measure to allow British citizens visa-free travel after Brexit.

The EU has already agreed to move back the original March 29 deadline to April 12 to give May more time to win backing from MPs for a deal.

A copy of UK Prime Minister Theresa May's letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, April 5, 2019.

An earlier British request for a delay until June 30 was rejected last month, amid rising irritation from European Union leaders about the political chaos in London.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said a longer delay to Brexit "might make more sense" than the United Kingdom seeking "an extension every couple of weeks or every couple of months, because that just adds to the uncertainty for citizens, for businesses and for farmers".

The EU is set hold an emergency Brexit summit on April 10, two days before the delayed date.

May said Britain would start preparing for European Parliament elections in case it is still a member of the bloc when they begin on May 23. Officials worry that the legitimacy of European institutions could be jeopardized if the population of a member state is not involved in the process.

May is under intense pressure from the right wing of her Conservative Party to pull Britain out of the bloc as soon as possible - with or without a deal.

Many MPs believe leaving without a formal deal would create problems for businesses and cause difficulties at ports.

The Conservative Party lawmaker suggested using Britain's positon to veto any EU budget increases, block the establishment of an EU army, and make it impossible for Macron to push further EU integration.

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The other 27 European Union nations must give unanimous backing to any deadline extension.

The Europeans would prefer that Britain not take part in the European Parliament elections if it is going to leave.

Mr Varadkar said that his priority remained avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

Last Friday, May did the unthinkable by asking Labour to negotiate with her on a deal that might work for both - although some in Labour said she was luring the party into sharing responsibility for her failure.

May long insisted that her plan - quitting all European Union institutions, with a 21-month standstill period to negotiate a bespoke free trade deal - was the only viable one.

The intensive Brexit talks between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn which stalled on Friday night are likely to provide a defining or perhaps a concluding moment for either or both of their careers.

The talks do not seem to be advancing.

After Parliament was unable to reach a consensus on any alternative to May's plan last week, the PM has been meeting with the Labour party to try to find a solution - but Labour now says talks are stalling and that May is unable to reach a compromise.

Labour Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said his party wanted the talks to go on, and a spokesman for May's office said the government had "made serious proposals" in the talks and wanted them to continue over the weekend "in order to deliver a deal that is acceptable to both sides".

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