British PM to request short delay to Brexit: reports

by - 2 min read

British PM to request short delay to Brexit: reports

by - 2 min read

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British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a short delay to Brexit in a letter to the European Union on Wednesday, according to multiple news outlets including the BBC and Sky.

Britain’s Press Association cited sources in the prime minister’s office as saying May will write to EU leaders to formally request “a bit more time.” Parliament last week voted for a three-month delay to the end of June, but some EU leaders have suggested another two years might be necessary.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC on Wednesday that a shorter delay is the right option.

Hinds says the process has already gone on for more than two years, “and I think people are a bit tired of waiting for Parliament to get our act together and get the deal passed.”

The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain with options including leaving with May’s deal, a longer delay, a disruptive exit, or even another referendum.

Just nine days before the March 29 exit date that May set two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, May is due to write to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.

But the ultimate length of the delay was unclear amid the political chaos in London, with the BBC reporting that May would not ask for a long delay. A spokesperson in May’s Downing Street office did not immediately comment on the reports.

Britain’s political chaos is causing increasing exasperation among EU leaders.

Asked by Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio what May would need to secure a delay this week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker replied that “she must bring approval of the negotiated deal and she must bring clear ideas on timing.”

“My impression is … that this week at the European Council there will be no decision, but that we will probably have to meet again next week, because Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament,” Juncker added.

The divorce deal May agreed on with the EU in November has been defeated twice by Parliament though May hopes to put the deal to another vote, possibly as early as next week.

May has warned that if Parliament did not ratify her deal, she would ask to delay beyond June 30, a step that Brexit’s advocates fear would endanger the entire divorce.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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