Theresa May Asks for Brexit Deadline Extension Until June 30

Yvette Cooper has tabled a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit

Yvette Cooper has tabled a bill to prevent a no-deal Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday again sought to delay Brexit until June 30 to avoid a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union in one week, although a key leader of the bloc suggested an even longer pause in the hard divorce proceedings.

But European Council President Donald Tusk, who chairs EU summits, has proposed a longer Brexit postponement of one year for Britain's feuding politicians to agree and ratify a plan, EU officials said.

"It's a hypothetical question because it assumes that there is an extension, which is yet to be seen by our leaders", Schinas said, referring to the fact that the 27 national leaders of European Union states staying on together after Brexit must unanimously agree on any further Brexit delay for Britain.

Ministers and Labour officials are holding a third day of talks created to establish whether they can unite around a compromise Brexit plan under which the Withdrawal Agreement would remain unchanged, but with changes being made to the accompanying Political Declaration on future relations.

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.

There are concerns that such an abrupt exit without a deal could lead to economic slowdown and a breakdown in food and medical supplies as border checks and tariffs are added overnight. It was endorsed earlier by the lower House of Commons by just one vote. It is the first country to try to leave the bloc, and the formal "Article 50" exit procedure has never been tested before.

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The Europeans would prefer that Britain don't take part in the European Parliament elections from May 23-26 if it is going to leave. April 12 is the last day for Britain to signal whether it will field candidates.

Earlier Friday, an European Union official said Tusk would suggest to member states that they offer Britain a flexible 12-month delay to Brexit, removing some of the pressure on May to ram through a deal by next Wednesday's summit meeting.

May's apparent determination to avoid a "no deal" scenario has prompted a furious reaction from many in her Conservative party, as has her decision earlier this week to open cross-party talks with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a bid to strike a compromise.

The talks do not seem to be advancing.

Labour, which she turned to reluctantly after failing three times to get her deal passed, said the government "has not offered real change or compromise" in three days of talks. They then narrowly failed to agree to back any of a series of alternative Brexit options, with plans for the United Kingdom to be part of a permanent customs union with the EU, or a second referendum, coming up short by a handful of votes.

Labour wants closer ties than May has sought, including a customs union, which May has so far ruled out. There is fierce opposition from Brexit backers in the Conservative Party to these options.

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