Theresa May asks for three month delay to Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May has requested a three-month delay to Brexit, postponing the UK's departure from the European Union from March 29 to June 30.

In a letter to European Council president Donald Tusk, Mrs May said that she did not believe it was in either the UK's or the EU's interests for Britain to take part in European Parliament elections in May.

She told MPs that she intends to table the Withdrawal Agreement which she has negotiated with the EU for a third time in the Commons next week, in the hope of overturning the massive defeats inflicted on it in January and March.

Brussels has made clear that any extension of the Article 50 negotiation process beyond the end of June would require the UK to elect MEPs to take their seats in the next European Parliament in July.

Mrs May told PMQs: "The idea that three years after voting to leave the EU, the people of this country should be asked to elect a new set of MEPs is, I believe, unacceptable.

"It would be a failure to deliver on the referendum decision this House said it would deliver.

"I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk... informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the Article 50 period until June 30."

Mrs May will formally make her request to the European Council summit in Brussels on Thursday, where the unanimous approval of all 27 remaining member states is required for any extension.

In her letter to Mr Tusk, Mrs May said that it remains the Government's policy to take the UK out of the EU "in an orderly manner" on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration agreed in November and supplemented by documents agreed with Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last week.

The Agreement was rejected by 230 votes in January and 149 votes earlier this month.

And Commons Speaker John Bercow this week said he would not allow the same motion to be brought again during this session of Parliament, unless it was substantially changed.

But Mrs May told the Commons: "The Government intends to bring forward proposals for a third meaningful vote.

"If that vote is passed, the extension will give the House time to consider the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. If not, the House will have to decide how to proceed.

"But as Prime Minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30."

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