British MPs pass law to block no-deal Brexit

Geraldine Edwards
April 10, 2019

At the weekend, the Taoiseach said his preference was for a longer delay than the June 30 date proposed by Mrs May and added that it was "extremely unlikely" that any one of the 27 EU leaders would use their veto over an extension at the European Council meeting.

The prime minister met with President Macron in Paris this afternoon, ahead of the EU Council meeting tomorrow.

While it was not immediately clear what Merkel and Macron, Europe's two most powerful leaders, agreed with May, an advance draft of conclusions for Wednesday's emergency European Union summit said Britain would be granted another delay on certain conditions.

As British Prime Minister Theresa May asks for Brexit to be postponed beyond midnight on Friday, the EU's ministers seek a credible plan to justify the delay.

Yes. The backbench bill led by Labour's Yvette Cooper, which came into law on Monday evening, says she must endeavour to avoid a no-deal departure by seeking an extension to article 50 as needed.

Several days of talks between May's Conservative government and the main opposition Labour Party tried to find a compromise Brexit deal have failed to produce a breakthrough.

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That is not to say that the Brexit nightmare is over for the British or other Europeans, just that Prime Minister May's Brexit soliloquy is expected to end this week.

Britain could also choose to stop the entire Brexit process by revoking Article 50, the formal procedure for member states that want to leave. "And France will ask a lot of questions in Brussels".

Roth said that "within the European Union, there isn't an endless readiness to keep talking about delays so long as there is no substantial progress on the British side".

But there are "always good reasons in such hard and highly charged situations in Britain and the European Union 27 to first talk to each other before the first deadline", he said.

Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, told reporters after briefing ministers in Luxembourg "any extension should serve a purpose".

She said: "We will need to look at why it is that we spent billions of pounds on no deal".

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May's chances of success hinge on either rebel MPs in her Conservative party and her Northern Irish allies backing her deal at the fourth time of asking, or a compromise with the opposition Labour party. "Make the most of Europe's opportunities".

On a charm offensive with key leaders, May flew first to Berlin Tuesday to plead for good terms with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and then set off for Paris for an encounter with President Emmanuel Macron, seen as her counterpart with the toughest demands.

Ireland, which has much to lose if its larger neighbour quits the block without a deal, has been most supportive of an extension, but Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, also insisted on the need for conditions.

Such an extension would mean the United Kingdom had to take part in European parliamentary elections, a prospect anathema to hardline Brexiteer Tories.

The 2016 referendum revealed a United Kingdom divided over much more than European Union membership, and has sparked impassioned debate about everything from secession and immigration to capitalism, empire and what it means to be British.

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