European Union leaders urge clarity from Britain before Brexit delay


"Whilst much of the current impasse in Parliament is the fault of the Prime Minister who has refused to consider alternatives to her withdrawal agreement, I could not support a second referendum given the commitments I have made and from listening to the very many conversations, emails and letters that I have received from constituents".

What happens now? May will seek another parliamentary vote next week.

She's planning to put it to a third vote in Parliament next week, and will frame the decision as a choice between accepting her deal or facing the prospect of being trapped in prolonged European Union membership. They didn't believe and neither would I have believed - having got warm words from people in authority "we will do this", and remember the 100-plus times "we will be out on 29 March" - absolutely not. On Tuesday, she failed to attract any more of the Labour MPs who represent constituencies that voted leave in the 2016 referendum, beyond the three who voted for her deal in January. May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her deal in a vote next week. The Observer understands that Labour will use the opportunity to offer its most strident support yet for a second referendum, by voting for a plan drawn up by two Labour backbenchers to put May's deal to a public vote.

European Union leaders will consider pressing Britain to delay Brexit by at least a year to find a way out of the domestic maelstrom. Mrs May's spokesman has said that the government was still making preparations in the event of a no-deal divorce.

"As long as things are in play in Westminster, there are tactical reasons to threaten long delays", said one...

The Sunday Times said May will warn Brexit supporters that unless they support her deal they will face a "Hotel California Brexit" where you can check out, but never leave.

Fishing boats take part in a demonstration against the terms of the current Mrs May's Brexit deal
Fishing boats take part in a demonstration against the terms of the current Mrs May’s Brexit deal

Speaking to the BBC's Political Thinking podcast, Ms McVey said: "The element now is that people will have to take a bad deal rather than no deal".

In another sign of how Brexit continues to reshape loyalties in Britain's politics, a senior Conservative lawmaker quit his local party on Saturday due to disagreements over Brexit.

"You don't just have a short, technical extension to our membership of the European Union, you nearly certainly need a significantly longer one to find a time for parliament to come to a majority verdict", he told BBC radio.

There were glimmers of hope for May yesterday as some Tory rebels, including Daniel Kawczynski, a member of the European Research Group of hardline Brexiters, revealed they were preparing to back the deal.

The EU guidance echoes the briefing provided to MPs at Westminster before Thursday's vote, which said "if the United Kingdom were to seek an extension beyond July 1, and hence remain a member state beyond that point, it would need to participate in the EP elections".