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Brexit: Formal talks between May and Tusk on delaying UK exit

 

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Prime Minister Theresa May meets with EU Council President Donald Tusk during the first Arab-European Summit on February 24, 2019 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Theresa May meets with EU Council President Donald Tusk during the first Arab-European Summit on February 24, 2019 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Prime Minister Theresa May meets with EU Council President Donald Tusk during the first Arab-European Summit on February 24, 2019 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau - Pool/Getty Images)

Formal talks on the implications of a delaying Brexit have taken place between British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Council President Donald Tusk.

Although Mrs May publicly insists she will take her country out of the EU on March 29, the idea of an extension to Article 50 is now firmly in play.

Mr Tusk said he wanted to “end the speculation” by confirming that he met Mrs May yesterday and teased out the legal implications of a delay.

He said both sides want to avoid a disorderly Brexit, meaning “an extension would be a rational solution”.

He noted that the Prime Minister still believes she can get the Withdrawal Agreement through the House of Commons.

At her press conference before leaving Sharm El-Sheikh, Mrs May said she remains focused on getting changes to the backstop so that the UK Parliament can have a new ‘meaningful vote’ before March 12.

She said she will update the House of Commons in a statement on Tuesday.

“A delay in this process doesn’t make a decision in parliament, it doesn’t do a deal. It just delays the point at which we come to that decision. And I think an extension to article 50 in that sense isn’t addressing the issue,” she said.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar predicted that Britain will either leave the European Union with a deal on March 29 or seek an extension to Article 50.

Ahead of a one-to-one meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Egypt, Mr Varadkar sounded much more positive than in recent weeks.

Irish Independent