Economy

United Kingdom set to lose European commissioner role over Brexit delay

United Kingdom set to lose European commissioner role over Brexit delay”

European Council president Donald Tusk has suggested offering the United Kingdom a "flexible" extension to Brexit of up to a year, with the option of leaving earlier if a deal is ratified.

The vote was carried by 420 votes to 110, a majority of 310, on the back of overwhelming support from opposition MPs for a Brexit delay.

"If the United Kingdom is still a member of the EU on 23-26 May 2019 and if it has not ratified the Withdrawal Agreement by 22 May 2019, it must hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law", the draft said.

Britain's prime minister Theresa May is on a whistlestop tour of France and Germany today, in a bid to gain support from European leaders to delay Brexit again.

In a letter to European Union leaders ahead of the summit, Tusk said that granting a flexible extension of a year, with the option of leaving earlier, would prevent the risk of a rolling series of short extensions and emergency summits and give Britain time to rethink its strategy.

On the eve of an EU summit on the Brexit crisis of national leaders, the bloc's chief negotiator made it clear that the Political Declaration, which sets out the future UK-EU relationship, could be improved and amended "within a few hours or days" - if cross-party talks in London around a new plan bear fruit.

There is also anger over her decision to try to reach a compromise position with Labour which could result in Mrs May reluctantly backing membership of a post-Brexit customs union.

Several EU diplomats said that the 12-month extension proposed by European Council President Donald Tusk, who will chair the Wednesday summit, was unlikely to fly and several capitals have agreed with France that that would be too long.

They want to know, if they say, "Yes", to another Brexit extension, what it will be used for. "It's because this will give sense to the demand for an extension presented by the British Prime Minister", said Barnier.

Chancellor Philip Hammond and environment secretary Michael Gove led the talks for the government, with their opposite numbers John McDonnell and Sue Hayman among the Labour delegation.

While the talks were taking place in London, May undertook a diplomatic push in Berlin and Paris in a bid to secure another extension to the negotiating process, despite being unable to present the credible alternative Brexit plan the European Union said it required to sanction such a move.

On Tuesday afternoon, MPs also approved a government motion for Mrs May to ask the European Union to delay Brexit until June 30, required after a bill from Labour's Yvette Cooper became law.

If Labour and the government can not agree on a way forward, Mrs May has promised to put a series of Brexit options to the Commons to vote on - with the government to be bound by the result.



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