May faces tough questioning from lawmakers after European Union grants new Brexit extension

Lamar Ellis
April 15, 2019

A so-called "soft Brexit" might get through Parliament and would be welcomed by the European Union, allowing Britain an orderly departure before October 31.

A French diplomatic source said Macron was not content with face-saving compromises with Germany, but wanted to work with others such as the Dutch, Danes and Swedes to get his way. She urged MPs to take stock and "reflect" over a 10-day Easter break that starts on Friday. "This is our national duty as elected members of this House".

But during exchanges in the Commons, Mr Corbyn warned the Prime Minister she had to be prepared to compromise if the talks were to stand any chance of success.

The delay avoids a possible economic calamity on both sides of the Channel but does little to resolve the political morass that has seen May's control over her MPs and cabinet gradually slip. Conservative lawmaker Mark Francois reported that if the United Kingdom stayed in the bloc,"in return we will become a Trojan Horse within the European Union".

He said: "I thought the Prime Minister said a few weeks ago that she wouldn't agree to any extension and now we are getting quite a long one".

It means that it gives May more time to try and pass her withdrawal agreement in parliament.

The bloc had already granted Britain a delay once from the original March 29 deadline.

Later on Thursday morning, French government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye told French TV station CNews that "it is not impossible that we could still have a no-deal Brexit".

If no extension had been granted, Britain faced the prospect of crashing out of the European Union this Friday with no deal, a scenario that many in Parliament anxious would lead to a deep recession.

"What's important is that any expansion enables us to leave at the point at which we ratify the withdrawal arrangement", May said as she came in Brussels.

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The European Union and British Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to delay Brexit once again - this time until the end of October.

"A longer Brexit extension would have been better!" tweeted Norbert Roettgen, chairman of the German parliament's foreign affairs committee and a member of Merkel's party.

A decision to delay Brexit until October 31 taken at a summit in Brussels means Britain will not crash out of the bloc on Friday without a treaty to smooth its passage.

But Macron insisted that a long delay would upset the functioning of the EU, which is set to decide on the presidencies of the European Commission and the Council, among other issues, later this year. The two sides said they would resume their discussions Thursday. Labour favors a softer Brexit compared to the government would like to keep a close financial relationship with the bloc, and has suggested. However, it will be hard for the Brexiteer faction of the Conservatives to push May out before October because, after the failed oust attempt in December, the Prime Minister is immune to a new challenge from within her party until next December.

"The October 31 deadline protects us" because it is "a key date, before the installation of a new European Commission", he said.

Alternatively, the government may still collapse under the pressure of Brexit, bringing about a general election and potentially a U-turn in British Brexit policy.

In the working-class port town of Tilbury east of London, which strongly backed leaving the European Union in the 2016 referendum, Brexit supporters voiced their frustration at the new delay. If May can't win support from the Labour Party, she plans to ask Parliament to vote on several Brexit options.

However, U.K. lawmakers rejected it three times.

"It doesn't want to leave without a deal; at the moment it doesn't want to vote for the deal. We don't want the Brexit problem to block us on this point".

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