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May warns of long delay to Brexit unless parliament backs her deal

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May’s warned lawmakers that unless they approved her Brexit divorce deal after two crushing defeats, Britain’s exit from the European Union could face a long delay and could involve taking part in European parliament elections.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks after the results of the vote on Brexit deal in Parliament in London, Britain, March 12, 2019. UK Parliament/Mark Duffy/Handout via REUTERS

After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the EU, the final outcome is still uncertain with options including a long delay, exiting with May’s deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another referendum.

May has issued Brexit supporters a clear ultimatum – ratify her deal by a European Council summit March 21 or face a delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that would open up the possibility that the entire divorce could be ultimately thwarted.

The prime minister bluntly warned that Britain will be forced to take part in European parliamentary elections expected to place at the end of May if there is a longer extension to Brexit talks.

“If the proposal were to go back to square one and negotiate a new deal, that would mean a much longer extension – almost certainly requiring the United Kingdom to participate in the European Parliament elections in May,” she said in an article in the S

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