European Union offers UK Prime Minister Theresa May a Brexit delay until October

Clay Curtis
April 12, 2019

Two European officials say EU leaders are offering to allow Britain to extend Brexit until October 31 and are awaiting the U.K.'s response.

The prime minister had asked for a delay only until June 30, but Tusk said in a tweet that she had agreed to a longer "flexible" extension, which provides for Britain to leave any time before October 31 provided Parliament ratifies a divorce deal and passes accompanying legislation to ensure a smooth transition out of the EU.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door negotiations.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had originally asked for a delay until June 30, but European leaders voiced doubts that British lawmakers would ratify a Brexit deal within three months.

Sterling rose against the dollar to pop above $1.31 after the possibility of a no-deal Brexit - which would've been the default outcome of Britain leaving the European Union on 12 April if an extension was rejected by the bloc - was quashed temporarily. Today she defended her decision to accept a further delay of six months after late-night talks with European Union leaders last night.

Mr Corbyn said talks between Labour and the Conservatives to find a Brexit compromise were "serious, detailed and ongoing", and on the central Labour demand that the United Kingdom stay in the EU customs union, Mrs May said: "I think there is actually more agreement in relation to a customs union than is often given credit for when different language is used".

"I think you know the answer to that", she replied.

The Brussels summit was more tense than expected, with France's President Emmanuel Macron opposing a long extension, with most others including German Chancellor Angela Merkel in favor. It means that it gives May more time to try and pass her withdrawal agreement in parliament.

May told the House - in an oft-repeated mantra - that passing an EU withdrawal agreement quickly would allow Britain to avoid taking part in European parliamentary elections set for late May, an unpalatable prospect to many Conservatives. Labour has indicated it favored a softer Brexit than the government has proposed and wanted to retain a close economic relationship with the bloc.

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"We'll be going after the millions of people who voted Ukip, and the many millions who voted Conservative and voted Brexit, and the 5 million people who voted Brexit and voted Labour".

British businesses expressed relief at the Brexit delay.

"I set the party up, she was the administrator that got it set up".

Ian Blackford, the SNP's Westminster leader, urged Mrs May to use the extra time to hold a second European Union referendum.

Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar also warned that Britain must now hold European elections in May, or leave on 1 June without a deal.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said in a tweet after the extension was granted that the British people should be allowed to "decide if they still want to leave".

Labour is primarily hoping to place Britain in a European customs union of some sort.

The veteran socialist said while the cross-party talks on finding a compromise were constructive and serious, "the red lines must move and we must see a real compromise".

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