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MPs must back May's deal if Parliament wants Brexit extension says Tusk

European Council President Donald Tusk has said that MPs must back Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement if the Brexit process is to be extended.

Mr Tusk was speaking in Brussels after receiving a letter from Mrs May formally requesting an extension to the Article 50 process until June 30.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons the Prime Minister said she will also be bringing forward proposals for a third "meaningful vote" on her Brexit deal, days after Speaker John Bercow ruled out such a vote unless her deal has "substantial changes".

She said: "The Government intends to bring forward proposals for a third meaningful vote, if that vote is passed, the extension will give parliament time to consider the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, if not we will have to decide how to proceed."

As Prime Minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30th. Theresa May

Mrs May said she will not seek a longer extension as it would involve the UK to run candidates for the European Parliament elections, which would be an "unacceptable failure to deliver on the referendum decision".

European Council president Donald Tusk has said a "short" delay to Brexit will be possible provided Parliament votes for Theresa May's deal.

Mr Tusk said he had spoken to the Prime Minister after receiving her formal request for an extension of the Article 50 withdrawal process to the end of June.

The former Polish prime minister told a press conference in Brussels: "In the light of the consultations that I have conducted over the past days, I believe that a short extension would be possible.

"But it would be conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons.

"The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was "downright reckless" for Mrs May to pursue a deal that has already been rejected by MPs.

"We are not in the midst of a full scale crisis, incompetence, intransigence and failure from the PM and her gov have brought us to this point."

Mr Corbyn said he has met with opposition MPs to find a compromise and will meet with EU leaders and officials on Thursday to discuss options for a way forward.

The move comes after Mrs May won the backing of MPs in the Commons last week to ask the EU for an extension, just days after her withdrawal agreement was defeated for a second time.

Now the Prime Minister's request will be subject to unanimous approval by leaders of the remaining 27 EU states at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Speaking earlier European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he was was hoping for “clarity” from the UK on the way forward.

He suggested that agreement on an extension to Article 50 might not be reached at this week’s European Council summit, and that EU leaders might have to meet again next week to finalise it.

“We will probably have to meet again next week, because Mrs May has not got agreement for anything either in her Cabinet or her Parliament.

“As long as we don’t know what Great Britain will say yes to, we can’t come to a resolution.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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