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What's next? Theresa May faces crucial week in Brexit battle

06 April, 2019

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday again sought to delay Brexit until June 30 to avoid a chaotic withdrawal from the European Union in one week, although a key leader of the bloc suggested an even longer pause in the hard divorce proceedings.

PPS By requesting a delay to "just" 30 June, Theresa May is trolling those who want a confirmatory referendum, or people's vote, because that delay is nowhere near long enough to accommodate a referendum.

On that occasion, after six hours of sometimes heated talks, the EU27 rejected her request, replacing it with the April 12 deadline, on which the clock is now rapidly running down.

"There are important decisions to be taken after European Union elections", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to comment on closed-door meetings preparing for next week's summit.

The UK is now due to leave the European Union on 12 April but MPs haven't been able to agree on how that should happen.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters in Bucharest: "If we are not able to understand the reason why the United Kingdom is asking for an extension, we can not give a positive answer".

FILE PHOTO - German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at a news conference with Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) Leo Varadkar during Merkel's visit to Dublin, where the latest Brexit developments were on the agenda, in Farmleigh House, Dublin, Ireland April 4, 2019.

The UK prime minister says it is "frustrating" that Britain hasn't yet resolved the situation.

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At the same time, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he will stand for the Brexit Party in European elections - if Britain takes part in them. "I would call it a "flextension", the official said. France is leading a small group of countries opposing a long extension, but officials said they don't expect any leader to veto a delay outright.

"It seems to be a good scenario for both sides, as it gives the United Kingdom all the necessary flexibility while avoiding the need to meet every few weeks to further discuss Brexit extensions".

It's after holding meetings with the leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn to see if they can work together and come up with a plan for what to do next.

But Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said May's letter raised questions, adding: "We hope for more clarity from London before next Wednesday".

In an interview with ITV's Peston, he said he was expecting Brussels to insist on a lengthy delay to Brexit but stressed that the Government wanted to ensure that any extension to the Article 50 process could be cut short if a deal was agreed by MPs.

The idea of asking Britons - who voted by 52 percent to 48 to leave the European Union three years ago - to confirm or reject any divorce deal has been gaining ground in Britain.

Both main parties made commitments after the referendum to deliver Brexit, but they never settled on a plan for how to leave or what future relationship to seek.

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