Theresa May has agreed a plan to delay Brexit until 22 May if she can get her deal through the Commons, or 12 April if she cannot.
The PM said it would be wrong to ask the UK to take part in European Parliament elections three years after voting to leave something whoch would have to happen if there was a longer delay to Brexit.
Mrs May met with Donald Tusk following the EU Council’s discussion on the UK’s request for a short extension to the Article 50 process.
“After a lengthy discussion, the council today also agreed, subject to a successful vote next week, that in order to provide time for the UK Parliament to agree and ratify a Brexit deal, the date of our departure will now be extended to 22 May.” The prime minister said.
If Parliament does not agree a deal next week, the EU Council will extend Article 50 until 12 April. At this point The UK would either leave with no deal, or put forward an alternative plan.
If that involved a further extension it would mean participation in the European Parliamentary elections.
Theresa May said “as I have said previously, I believe strongly that it would be wrong to ask people in the UK to participate in these elections three years after voting to leave the EU.
What the decision today underlines is the importance of the House of Commons passing a Brexit deal next week so that we can bring an end to the uncertainty and leave in a smooth and orderly manner.”
She added: ‘Tomorrow morning, I will be returning to the UK and working hard to build support for getting the deal through.
I know MPs on all sides of the debate have passionate views, and I respect those different positions.”
Referring to her speech last night where she laid the blame for the delay to Brexit on MPs she said:
“Last night I expressed my frustration. I know that MPs are frustrated too. They have difficult jobs to do.
I hope we can all agree, we are now at the moment of decision.
I will make every effort to ensure that we are able to leave with a deal and move our country forward.”