European Union leaders grant Theresa May six-month reprieve to win Brexit approval

European Union leaders grant Theresa May six-month reprieve to win Brexit approval

The DUP has accused the Prime Minister of "holding out a begging bowl to European leaders" after she made the case for a delay to Brexit.

He said there was "little reason to believe" a Brexit deal would be approved by the extension deadline UK PM Theresa May has requested - 30 June.

The EU had previously told May another extension would only be granted if the United Kingdom can present a credible alternative Brexit plan to the one which has been rejected by MPs three times.

"The whole thing is an utter vehicle crash and I think what has to be established now is I think the Cabinet has to have a moment with the Prime Minister and say this can't go on, I'm afraid, it really can't go on".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, whose country shares a border with the United Kingdom and would be among the hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit, said Britain was in "a difficult position".

She said if United Kingdom lawmakers back her Brexit deal, her country can still leave before June 30 - the Brexit deadline that she had requested from the bloc.

He said: "EU27 has agreed an extension to Article 50".

A long delay to Brexit would put the entire divorce in doubt by opening up the space for a second referendum and election, while harsh conditions would likely lead to a swifter end to May's premiership.

"The Government side has been engaged in the detail explaining its position and how it sees its own deal, which has been rejected three times in Parliament".

European leaders fear a no-deal exit on Friday at 2200 GMT would spook financial markets, hurt the EU 27's $16 trillion economy and undermine global trade. "That is why the request today is to June 30 in order that we can leave as soon as possible", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. "But the choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear".

European Union leaders are exasperated with May's handling of a tortuous and potentially expensive divorce that many in Brussels feel is a distraction from ensuring the bloc can hold its own beside the United States and China.

Macron questioned May's ability to persuade parliament to her treaty, European Union officials said, and said that a tighter deadline would focus British minds. Macron said this outcome was avoided because the autumn date means the United Kingdom will leave before the arrival of a new European commission on 1 November.

A source from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union later quoted the chancellor as telling a party meeting that she viewed an extension of the Brexit deadline for "several months to early 2020 as possible".

Six months "could be enough for a good solution if there is goodwill and majority for such solutions in London, in the House of Commons", said Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, which represents leaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in combative mood, demanding Britain set out a clear path forward and dismissing reports the leaders had already chose to give May space of up to a year. Many Conservative Party lawmakers would like her to quit now and let a new leader take charge of the next stage of Brexit. Labour favours a softer Brexit than the government has proposed, and wants to retain a close economic relationship with the bloc.

"It doesn't want to leave without a deal; at the moment it doesn't want to vote for the deal".

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