UK could be heading for Halloween Brexit

Theresa May has been called back to the European Council summit amid expectations she will be offered a Halloween Brexit.

Diplomatic sources in Brussels were quoted as saying that the leaders of the 27 remaining EU countries had come together around an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal to October 31, with a review in June.

The Prime Minister’s agreement is required for any change to the Brexit date to be finalised.

Most of the leaders at the Brussels summit are understood to have favoured the longer extension of as much as a year recommended by European Council President Donald Tusk.

Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel share a smile
Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel share a smile as the European Council summit gets under way (Olivier Hoslet, Pool Photo via AP)

But French President Emmanuel Macron dug his heels in for a shorter delay, warning that a no-deal Brexit would be less damaging than a disruptive UK remaining for month after month.

Mrs May gave a one-hour presentation setting out her case for an extension to June 30, with a break clause allowing the UK to leave as soon as her Withdrawal Agreement was ratified.

But she had to leave the EU27 to discuss the UK’s future in her absence over a dinner of scallop soup and loin of cod. It took five hours of wrangling before she was summoned back from the residence of UK ambassador Sir Tim Barrow for her agreement to be sought.

EU27 has agreed an extension of Art. 50. I will now meet PM @theresa_may for the UK government's agreement. #Brexit

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) April 10, 2019

Failure to reach unanimous agreement would mean the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal at 11pm on Friday.

Mr Tusk tweeted: “EU27 has agreed an extension of Article 50. I will now meet PM Theresa May for the UK Government’s agreement.”

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