EU grants May an extension as Brexit uncertainty continues

Written by Kira Taylor |

Image courtesy of Flickr

Yesterday, in Brussels, the EU offered a respite to Theresa May, agreeing an unconditional extension to Article 50.

They offered a two-tier extension, meaning Brexit is certainly delayed beyond 29th March to at least April.

The first deadline is 12th April. This is unconditional, so whether May gets her deal through or not, the UK will remain in the EU until then.

If the UK hits the 12th April deadline without agreeing an alternative agreement with Parliament, other options include asking for a longer extension and take part in the European elections or revoking Article 50.

The second deadline is conditional on MPs voting for May’s Brexit deal in the next meaningful vote. If it passes, the UK will leave on 22nd May.

This date is earlier than May asked for because the 27 remaining EU leaders reportedly did not want to risk the UK being a member beyond the European Parliament elections (on 23rd May) without electing MEPs

“…EU leaders reportedly did not want to risk the UK being a member beyond the European Parliament elections…”

Neither of these options prevent a no deal indefinitely as both have an end date.

The simplest way to avoid a no deal is for MPs to support the government’s deal, which has already been defeated twice, constituting the first and fourth largest parliamentary defeats in history respectively.

Some MPs may be persuaded by the time pressure and the threat of a no deal, particularly as there is a Parliamentary majority against no deal.

However, it is uncertain whether fears of a no deal will directly lead to votes for May’s deal, with some MPs, such as Sheryll Murray of South East Cornwall, support leaving without a deal.

“Neither of these options prevent a no deal indefinitely…”

In an address on 20th March, Mrs. May said she sided with the public, who were sick of negotiations, and put the blame on Parliament for delaying the process.

She stated that not leaving on time was a matter of “great personal regret” but went on to add: “Of this I am absolutely sure. You, the public, have had enough. You’re tired of the infighting, you’re tired of the political games and arcane political rows.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded, saying, “She accuses Parliament of indulgence. Parliament has been doing its job.”

In her speech, Mrs May again ruled out the prospect of a second referendum. However, the idea the UK might remain in the EU hasn’t been ruled out.