Politics update: May asks EU for Brexit delay, Conservatives rebel against Boris Johnson leadership bid

Politics update 20.03.2019 Brexit Delay

May will ask EU for article 50 extension

Theresa May Brexit delay

Theresa May will be writing to EU leaders to ask for an extension to article 50, to delay Brexit, the prime minister’s spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

After a chaotic start to the week, which saw speaker of the house John Bercow ruling that her deal could not be returned to parliament for another vote without substantial changes, May will now request an extension to article 50.

Speaking on Tuesday, May’s spokesman said: “The prime minister will be writing to Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, before the European council begins, in relation to an extension.”

The prime minister’s spokesman originally declined to comment on how long the extension would be, telling reporters that they would “have to wait for that letter to be published”, and this morning number 10 announced that May “won’t be asking for a long extension”.

This morning, BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith reported the delay would not be beyond the end of June.

Barnier suggests general election or second referendum needed to allow Brexit delay

Michael Barnier

The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has suggested that a “new event” such as a general election or second referendum is needed in order for there to be a length delay to Brexit, if May’s deal is voted down again in the Commons.

Barnier said that EU leaders, who will meet at a crunch summit in Brussels on Thursday, would want to see clear reasons why a lengthy delay is needed.

The EU is now reportedly pushing for May to set a roadmap for how parliament would decide between a soft Brexit, a second referendum or a general election, should her deal be rejected in another meaningful vote.

“The key questions will be: does an extension increase the chances of the ratification of the withdrawal agreement? Will the UK request an extension because it wants a bit more time to rework the political declaration?” Barnier said on Tuesday.

But speaking later, he added: “My feeling is that a longer extension needs to be linked to something. There needs to be a new event, a new political process and obviously I cannot attempt to preempt such a process.”

Trump Jr: democracy in the UK is “all but dead”

Donald Trump Jr has weighed in on the Brexit debate, penning an article for the Sun newspaper where he called democracy in the UK “all but dead”

Taking the strongly pro-Brexit stance shared by his father, US president Donald Trump, Trump Jr criticised Theresa May for having “ignored advice from my father” – President Trump claimed earlier this year that Mrs May had ignored his advice by opting for a softer Brexit strategy.

Writing for the Sun, Trump Jr said: “Some pro-Brexit politicians even suggest that Mrs May is trying to sabotage Brexit, by insisting that Parliament agree to a deal that essentially keeps Britain bound to the EU indefinitely.

“With the deadline fast approaching, it appears that democracy in the UK is all but dead.”

Conservatives threaten resignations if Boris Johnson becomes party leader

Boris-Johnson

Many Tory MPs – who believe that Theresa May could be leaving office early – have promised to resign if Boris Johnson becomes the Conservative party leader.

As discussions stir amongst MPs about who could replace Theresa May if she resigns, several Conservatives are already threatening  to resign from the party whip to oppose a potential campaign from Johnson, who is a favourite amongst pro-Brexit Tories.

One minister is reported to have told the Guardian newspaper that they intend to resign if Johnson becomes leader, and the party is overrun by his supporters, who include Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg.

The minister also claimed that he knew of five or six colleagues who were also willing to resign, against the possibility of a Johnson leadership surrounded by “Brexit ultras”.

 

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