MPs and peers pass new law on blocking no-deal Brexit

Ann Santiago
April 10, 2019

The European Union will grant Britain another delay to Brexit on certain conditions, including that it hold European Parliament elections, according to draft conclusions of the bloc's national leaders, who are due to decide on the matter on Wednesday.

Andrea Leadsom has called for German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reopen talks on the Irish backstop in the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

The main rebellion came from pro-Brexit Conservatives who want Brexit to happen sooner. And she spoke by phone with European Council president Donald Tusk, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Malta's Joseph Muscat to set out the case for extending the Brexit process to June 30.

EU diplomatic sources I have spoken to suggest the prime minister may have officially asked the EU for a short new extension (until 30 June) as that was politically easier for her back home, whereas she believed and hoped (the theory goes) that EU leaders will insist instead on a flexible long extension that she actually needs.

On the eve of an emergency EU summit in Brussels, chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was ready to grand a delay, but that the duration "has got to be in line with the objective of any such extension".

At Wednesday's summit, European Union heads of state must unanimously ratify any further extension on the withdrawal agreement. "No-deal" will never by the EU's decision.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, also said the length of any delay will depend on the rationale May presents in Brussels on Wednesday.

But Jeremy Corbyn said he still doesn't know what concessions the Prime Minister is prepared to make.

Nevertheless, the process of passing a law to trigger Tuesday's debate has further undermined May's political authority, proving parliament is able and willing to circumvent the government if they disagree with her choices on Brexit.

It allows the government to seek any extension from 22 May onwards.

British MPs on Monday passed a new law aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit this week by obliging the government to ask European Union leaders for a delay.

The Guardian spotted opposition Labour party spokesman early on Tuesday (Monday in the UK) saying "Following meetings between Labour party and government officials today, ministerial and shadow ministerial negotiating teams will meet tomorrow to attempt to secure a Brexit compromise".

European leaders will demand the United Kingdom abide by principles of "sincere co-operation" and not disrupt the functioning of EU institutions in return for a long extension of its Brexit negotiations, according to draft council conclusions seen by the Financial Times.

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