May heads to France after asking Merkel to help on Brexit impasse

May heads to France after asking Merkel to help on Brexit impasse

May heads to France after asking Merkel to help on Brexit impasse

In a letter to the members of the other 27 member states, EU Council President Donald Tusk suggested they consider May's June 30 delay request at their emergency meeting on Wednesday so as to better prepare against the chance of a no-deal Brexit.

On the eve of an emergency EU summit in Brussels, chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the bloc was ready to grand a delay, but that the duration "has got to be in line with the goal of any such extension".

In anticipation of this, May's government on Monday reluctantly laid the legal order needed to hold European Parliament elections on 23 May.

The country could still crash out of the European Union without a deal if the bloc's leaders refuse to grant a delay.

If the United Kingdom is willing to add a Customs Union membership to the already negotiated trade agreement then the EU will be ready to renegotiate the political declaration, EU's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday.

These would include no reopening of the near 600-page withdrawal agreement signed by May and European Union leaders in November and a promise from London that it would maintain "sincere cooperation" during the extension.

British MPs have rejected a deal May negotiated with the European Union three times, but the PM is now in talks with the opposition Labour party to try break the deadlock. The PM expressed her deep concern about the recent escalation and said it was important for the global community to work together to bring an end to the violence.

In an introductory letter to European Union leaders ahead of tomorrow's summit, Mr Tusk said that "whatever course of action is taken, it must not be influenced by negative emotions".

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May says she is determined to implement the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit, but that Britain should only sever ties with its largest trading partner once it has new arrangements in place.

Brexiteers in her cabinet insisted on at most a short delay, while Mark Francois, deputy chief of the Conservatives' Brexit-supporting faction in parliament, demanded she resign and called on the party to vote on forcing her out - even though there is no formal provision to do so before December.

But he cast doubt on the UK Government's ability to secure its own deal or agree a compromise in talks with Labour by its new preferred end date of 30 June.

Michel Barnier, the EU's Brexit negotiator, told reporters after briefing ministers in Luxembourg "any extension should serve a purpose".

"We're open to extending the deadline to allow these discussions to run their course", he said.

"What I think would be fantastic is if Angela Merkel will try to support a proper UK Brexit by agreeing to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement", said Andrea Leadsom, the government's business manager in the lower house of parliament, the Commons.

These options could include holding another referendum on any Brexit deal agreed by Parliament. Barnier repeated that this could be reworked "extremely quickly". He added: "We are looking for movement".

"We've never been closed to the idea of finding an alternative solution to "no deal" within certain limits and not at any price", the aide said on condition of anonymity.

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