Brexit: UK asks EU for further extension until 30 June

Copy of Theresa May's letter Image copyright Reuters Image caption The prime minister has written another “Dear Donald” letter to the European Council president

Theresa May has written to the European Union to request a further delay to Brexit until 30 June.

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 12 April and, as yet, no withdrawal deal has been approved by MPs.

The government has been in talks with the Labour Party to try and find a compromise to put to the Commons.

But shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the Tory negotiating team had offered no changes to Mrs May’s original deal.

The PM said from the outset she wanted to keep her withdrawal agreement as part of any plan, but was willing to discuss the UK’s future relationship with the EU – addressed in the deal’s political declaration.

Sir Keir said the government was “not countenancing any change to the actual wording of the political declaration”, adding: “Compromise requires change.”

The prime minister has proposed that if UK MPs approve a deal in time, the UK should be able to leave before European Parliamentary elections on 23 May.

But she said the UK would prepare to field candidates in those elections in case no agreement is reached.

It is up to the EU whether to grant an extension to Article 50, the legal process through which the UK is leaving the EU, after MPs repeatedly rejected the withdrawal agreement reached between the UK and the bloc.

‘Flexible extension’

The BBC’s Europe editor Katya Adler has been told by a senior EU source that European Council President Donald Tusk will propose a 12-month “flexible” extension to Brexit, with the option of cutting it short, if the UK Parliament ratifies a deal.

But French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said on Friday that it was “premature” to consider another delay while French diplomatic sources described Mr Tusk’s suggestion as a “clumsy test balloon”.

The prime minister wrote to Mr Tusk to request the extension ahead of an EU summit on 10 April, where EU leaders would have to unanimously agree on any plan to delay the UK’s departure.

Mrs May has already requested an extension to the end of June but this was rejected at a summit last month.

Instead, she was offered a short delay to 12 April – the date by which the UK must say whether it intends to take part in the European Parliamentary elections – or until 22 May, if UK MPs had approved the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU.

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