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EU preparing to delay Brexit until July
The European Union is preparing to delay Brexit until at least July, after concluding that Theresa May’s deal is doomed to fail when it is voted on in parliament on Tuesday.
Brussels now regards Britain’s 29 March deadline for exiting the EU as highly unlikely to be met, and expects to be asked for an extension to the deadline, in light of the strong opposition to the prime minister’s Brexit deal seen from opposing parties as well as her own.
Brussels is now preparing for a special leader’s summit, expected to be convened by Donald Tusk, the European council president. At this summit, the details of any delay to article 50 will be discussed based on the reasoning that Theresa May puts forward.
Speaking on Sunday, an EU official said: “Should the prime minister survive and inform us that she needs more time to win round parliament to a deal, a technical extension up to July will be offered.”
Senior EU officials have also suggested that a lengthier extension could be granted should a general election or second referendum take place, though the upcoming EU parliament elections in May would complicate the process.
One EU diplomat said: “The first session of the parliament is in July. You would need UK MEPs there if the country is still a member state. But things are not black and white in the European Union.”
Theresa May makes last-ditch attempt to win support for deal
Theresa May will make a last-ditch attempt to win support for her Brexit deal on Monday, by saying that MPs have a “duty to implement the result of the referendum” when they vote on her deal on Tuesday.
The prime minister will make a speech in Stoke-onTrent on Monday, an area where two-thirds of residents people voted to leave the EU. There she will give a speech where she will claim that voting against her deal would affect “the faith of the British people in our democracy.”
The prime minister will say: “I ask MPs to consider the consequences of their actions on the faith of the British people in our democracy,”
“What if we found ourselves in a situation where parliament tried to take the UK out of the EU in opposition to a remain vote? People’s faith in the democratic process and their politicians would suffer catastrophic harm. We all have a duty to implement the result of the referendum.
“There are some in Westminster who would wish to delay or even stop Brexit and who will use every device available to them to do so,” May will say in her speech.
John Major urges Theresa May to revoke article 50
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major has urged Theresa May to revoke article 50, to avoid Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Major said: “In the midst of chaos, it is always sensible to pause and think… The only sensible course now is for the government to revoke Article 50 and suspend any decision on departure.
““This may be politically uncomfortable but any short-term political disruption pales into insignificance when compared with the potential long-term damage that could be wreaked on our economy as a whole. The choice between ‘no deal’ or ‘bad deal’ was never one that our country should accept.””
The former PM also hit out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying that he offered “little or nothing” to the EU debate, and had offered “no clear policy position whatsoever during the negotiations process.”
Corbyn says no-confidence motion will be launched ‘soon’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has pledged that his part will call a no-confidence vote against the government “soon”, whilst repeating his intention to re-negotiate a Brexit deal if he becomes prime minister before Britain leaves the EU.
Speaking in a BBC interview on Sunday, Corbyn said: “We will table a motion of no confidence in the government at a time of our choosing, but it’s going to be soon, don’t worry about that.”
When asked about the timing of the vote by BBC’s Andrew Marr, he said: “We’ll have the vote and then you’ll see.”
It remains to be seen whether Labour can drum up enough support from MPs across the Commons to vote against the government if it calls a no-confidence vote. If it succeeds, a a general election would most likely follow.
In the event a general election cannot be forced, the party previously agreed that the possibility of supporting a general election can then be discussed. Asked about this option, Corbyn said: “We’re then into that consideration at that point. My own view is that I would rather get a negotiated deal now if we can, to stop the danger of a no-deal exit from the EU on 29 March which would be catastrophic for industry, catastrophic for trade.”
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