EU will give May two week extension if she gets her deal through Commons
EU leaders have told Theresa May she will be granted only a two weeks extension of article 50, unless MPs vote through her deal in the Commons next week.
In an unexpected move, after a series of talks in Brussels on Thursday evening, the prime minister was told that if she could pass her deal through parliament, Britain would be granted an extension until 22 May, but if MPs voted down her deal Britain would only have a two week period to plan next steps.
If the withdrawal agreement is rejected by MPs in the Commons in a third meaningful vote next week, the government will have the chance to seek a longer extension if it can “indicate a way forward” and agree to hold European elections.
If May does manage to win enough support to pass her deal through the Commons next week, Britain will remain an EU member state until 22 May to pass necessary legislation to exit.
Speaking on Thursday, an EU official said: “The 12 April is the new 29 March.”
No deal preparations increase as ministers believe chance of crashing out is ‘very real’
The government’s own no-deal preparations have increased in recent weeks as Theresa May’s deal has seen two rejections from parliament, with EU leaders now telling the prime minister Britain will have only two weeks to decide next steps if it is voted down again.
Security, transport, and food and medicine stockpiling measures have been undertaken to prepare for the growing possibility of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal.
The government has launched what has been described as the “biggest peacetime project in the history of the civil service” in Operation Yellowhammer, designed to increase border security and policing for no-deal. Defence secretary Gavin Williamson has promised MPs that 3,500 troops would be on standby to assist at British ports.
Today, the Guardian newspaper reports that cabinet ministers now believe there is a ‘very real’ chance of no-deal, after chaos in westminster reached new heights.
One aide to a cabinet minister reportedly told the newspaper that No 10 was in “full-on bunker mode”, and that the prime minister’s speech from Downing Street this week showed “they have all taken leave of their senses”.
Despite the fact that MPs voted strongly against a no-deal Brexit in parliament last week, the government will only have two weeks to decide next steps if her deal is voted down again.
Labour kicks off local election campaign
Labour launched its local election campaign this week with a focus on attacking funding cuts by a Conservative government in the UK’s most deprived areas.
The party kicked off its local election campaign in Stoke-on-Trent, with party chairman, Ian Lavery MP, telling an audience that all 10 of the most deprived councils are Labour controlled, including Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency of Islington, and Diane Abbott’s in Hackney, which had been “hollowed out” by cuts by the government.
Speaking on Thursday, Lavery said: “Local government and the vital public services they provide have been hollowed out by savage Tory cuts that have hit the poorest hardest. People are paying much more for their council taxes and getting much less.”
Local elections in the UK are scheduled to be held on Thursday 2 May 2019, across 270 English local councils, six directly elected mayors in England, and all 11 local councils in Northern Ireland.
What the papers say
Guardian front page, Friday 22 March 2019: May’s appeal falls flat as EU seizes control of Brexit date pic.twitter.com/j29e4IdFd1— The Guardian (@guardian) March 21, 2019
Here is tomorrow's @Daily_Express front page:— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) March 21, 2019
– Battle plans drawn up for no deal #Brexit
– Police say body found in river is missing Libby
– Joan Collins, 85: 'I'm in the best shape of my life'#TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/uVjSHccwCz