UK's Theresa May asks European Union for Brexit delay until June 30

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the MoD base in Salisbury

"A senior European Union official said Donald Tusk had described a flexible extension as "the only reasonable way out" during a long meeting with officials' yesterday evening ahead of the 10 April summit". May acknowledged that were the United Kingdom still fail to ratify the agreement and be prepared to leave the EU by May 23, it would be under a "legal obligation" to hold the European parliamentary elections between May 23 and 26.

Other members of the government have spoken out against the plan to contest the elections, with Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay telling the House of Commons: "To have European parliamentary elections three years after the country voted to leave would be damaging to our politics as a whole".

Most EU leaders are leaning toward a longer Brexit delay to avoid being constantly approached by the PM for a rolling series of short extensions. with the threat of a no-deal Brexit always just around the corner.

If the House of Commons ratifies the withdrawal agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May has already signed with the European Union members, London could leave before the year is up. She is now in talks with the opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a way out of the deadlock, but it is not clear whether they can find a solution in the next few days.

May said in her letter that Britain is reluctantly ready to begin preparations for the European elections if no Brexit deal is reached in the interim.

The EU's remaining 27 leaders, who meet May in Brussels for a summit Wednesday, have to agree on any offer unanimously, and it'll be up to them to forge a common position.

May will meet European Union leaders Wednesday to make her case for a short extension to June 30.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today that the talks with the opposition are "ongoing and we hope that they deliver an outcome that allows Labour to support the Withdrawal Agreement".

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The EU says it's prepared for no deal and has been talking up the prospects of such a scenario, but in private officials expect it to be avoided.

Sir Starmer said the Government was "not countenancing any changes" to the wording of the political declaration, which sets out the framework for the future UK-EU relationship.

The Conservative Party lawmaker suggested using Britain's positon to veto any EU budget increases, block the establishment of an EU army, and make it impossible for Macron to push further EU integration.

It is also understood that the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, a potential frontrunner to succeed May, has been informing backbenchers that he would prefer to leave on WTO terms rather than accept a long extension and made this clear in cabinet discussions last week.

Some 26 percent of the surveyed British people said that they would sit out the elections in protest, while 47 percent said that they would vote in them, according to the data.

She was forced to seek a second delay after her deal was rejected for a third time by MPs last week. "If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the government proposes that the period should be terminated early", she notes.

During the two-hour session on Wednesday, May and Corbyn agreed to a programme of cross-party talks to seek a mutually acceptable agreement on the UK's withdrawal from the EU. 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.

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