Brexit extension ‘opens prospect’ of UK taking part in EU elections

A request from Britain to the EU to extend Article 50 should have a purpose and a specific time period, according to the First Vice-President of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness.

Speaking on EuroParlRadio, the MEP for Midlands North-West warned that an extension to Article 50 opens up the prospect of the UK taking part in the upcoming European Elections in May.

McGuinness was speaking shortly before MPs voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit last night; with Westminster set to vote on a proposed extension this evening (Thursday, March 14).

“I would rather that, if the UK looked for an extension, they do it with a purpose in mind and they ask for a specific time period mindful of how serious the situation is.

Don’t underestimate the prospect that the UK will be required to hold elections to the European Parliament in May. While we are of the view that that won’t happen, it may just happen.

“For legal reasons, if the extension is into the election period, I think citizens in the United Kingdom who want to remain in Europe will demand that there are elections and indeed may challenge legally any attempt to deny them that,” McGuinness said.

Meanwhile, speaking to the same media outlet, Sinn Fein MEP Liada Ni Riada has called for greater investments in Rosslare, Waterford and Cork ports to cope with the fallout from Brexit.

The Ireland South MEP is accusing the Irish Government of not preparing properly for a UK crash out of the EU in March.

She was speaking in Strasbourg where MEPs this week debated the “chaos” in Westminster following MPs’ rejection of Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement.