EU to allow Brexit delay until 22 May if British MPs accept divorce deal next week

The leaders of 27 EU member states meeting in Brussels are expected to hand Britain a Brexit delay until 22 May if its parliament approves the exit deal next week

British Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to leave Brussels with a shorter extension to Brexit and only if she convinces MPs to support the divorce deal
British Prime Minister Theresa May is likely to leave Brussels with a shorter extension to Brexit and only if she convinces MPs to support the divorce deal

An extension to Britain’s withdrawal agreement will only be possible if British MPs agree to the deal that is on the table by next week, according to draft conclusions of an EU meeting.

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March but Prime Minister Theresa May has asked for an extension until the 30 June to be able to get her deal through parliament.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday evening are likely to approve an extension only up to 22 May on condition that the British parliament votes for the exit deal by next week.

British MPs have twice rejected the deal and with the EU adamant that it cannot be renegotiated, it remains unclear whether May’s deal could ever achieve a majority in the Commons.

EU 27 leaders will not accept a Brexit delay beyond 22 May
EU 27 leaders will not accept a Brexit delay beyond 22 May

The draft text seen by Reuters says that the EU “commits to agreeing, before March 29 2019, to an extension until May 22, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week”.

The extension beyond 22 May will not be possible given the UK’s intention not to hold elections for the European Parliament, scheduled between 23 and 25 May.

“The European Council reiterates that there can be no opening of the Withdrawal Agreement … Any unilateral commitment, statement or other act should be compatible with the letter and the spirit of the Withdrawal Agreement,” the draft text said.

The EU 27 leaders are discussing the text without May.

In the absence of an agreement, Britain will leave the EU as scheduled in eight days’ time without a deal.

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