UK prime minister to ask EU for ‘short’ Brexit delay

Theresa May, the prime minister of the UK, is expected to write to EU officials today to ask for a delay to the Brexit ‘deadline day’ of March 29.

According to the BBC, May will request the shorter delay – pushing Brexit out to June 30 – but will also ask for the option to extend it longer if needed.

This longer delay could be up to two years long.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said that a delay will not be granted without a clear plan by the UK government for the way forward.

Originally, May had planned this week to hold a third vote on the withdrawal agreement that was negotiated late last year; that deal was rejected by the House of Commons as recently as last week.

However, these plans seem to have been scuppered by John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, who ruled on Monday (March 18) that the withdrawal agreement could not be voted on for a third time unless it was “substantially different”.

It had been May’s intention to hold another vote this week, and if it was passed, to ask for a short extension to allow the agreement to be properly implemented.

She warned those members of her party who oppose her withdrawal agreement that Brexit may face a much longer extension if the deal is not passed by parliament.

Last week, the House of Commons held three important votes.

The first vote, on Tuesday (March 12), rejected May’s withdrawal agreement, with 391 members of the parliament voting against it and only 242 voting in favour.

The following day (March 13) politicians voted 321 to 278 in favour of ruling out a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and working for an agreement of some kind to be passed.

And on Thursday (March 14) the house overwhelmingly accepted a motion to officially seek an extension on Brexit, though an exact length for that extension was not specified.