British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday wrote to the European Union requesting that the exit of the United Kingdom from the bloc be extended to June 30. May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk a day after MPs in the House of Commons narrowly voted in favour of asking her to seek an extension to the date for Brexit.
May told Tusk that since the House of Commons had declined to approve the withdrawal deal between Britain and the European Union by March 29, the UK government had to request for an extension of the last date for Brexit to June 30. The European Council had on March 22 granted an extension to Britain to exit the EU by May 22.
“Unless we agree to a further extension at the European Council you have convened on April 10, the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal at 2300 BST on April 12 [2.30 am Indian Standard Time on April 13],” May told Tusk. However, she said, the British government believes that leaving the European Union with a deal would be preferable.
“This impasse [about Brexit] cannot be allowed to continue,” May said. “In UK it is creating uncertainty and doing damage to faith in politics, while the European Union has a legitimate desire to move on to decisions about its own future. That is why the government has decided to take further action to seek a consensus across the House of Commons on the right way forward.”
May told Tusk that she met Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn last week to discuss a proposal that could be put before the House of Commons, which would allow the UK to leave the European Union. “We agreed to follow up discussions which are taking place,” she added.
The British prime minister also said that neither UK nor the European Union wants her country to hold the bloc’s elections, scheduled for May 23. “However, the United Kingdom accepts the European Council’s view that if the United Kingdom were still a member state of the European Union on May 23, it would be under a legal obligation to hold the elections,” she added.
May also said that if a withdrawal agreement could be ratified by Parliament before these elections, the “government proposes that the period be terminated early” so that the UK can leave the European Union before the polls.
The bill passed on Thursday proposed that May ask the European Union for an extension to the exit date beyond April 12. The Parliament will decide on the quantum of the delay. A proposal to hold a second referendum had earlier been declined by 292 votes to 280.