UK's May asks European Union for Brexit delay, but France's Macron says ‘premature’

In a statement sent to AFP, Amelie de Montchalin said President Emmanuel Macron's government had "read with interest" British Prime Minister Theresa May's letter to the European Union asking for an extension until June 30.

However, she admitted staying in the bloc beyond that date would require the United Kingdom to elect new representatives and as such was triggering preparations which she hoped ultimately to cancel.

"The official added that Tusk went on to say: "And even if this were not possible, then the United Kingdom would still have enough time to rethink its Brexit strategy". Unable to convince her allies to back her own deal - Parliament has rejected it on three separate occasions - she's turned to Corbyn for help.

But Mr Tusk is recommending a longer postponement of one year, with a break clause in the case of earlier ratification, in a so-called "flextension" deal.

Mr Farage also accused the Prime Minister and parliamentarians of trying to "kill Brexit stone dead".

The Bill, brought forward by backbenchers including Labour's Yvette Cooper, allows parliament to determine the length of any Brexit extension the Prime Minister should request at the European Union summit on April 10.

The government has not proposed any changes to the PM's Brexit deal during cross-party talks, says shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer.

The 25 lawmakers, nearly all from areas which voted to leave the European Union in a 2016 referendum, said the talks "represent a real opportunity" for Corbyn, a way to get a deal which would meet Labour's demands for a Brexit that protected workers' rights.

May said in a letter sent on Friday to Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council that represents EU leaders.

Five of those considering resigning are cabinet ministers, the newspaper said.

But France believes it is "premature" to assume they will grant Britain another extension to the Brexit negotiation period, a source close to the President has said.

Sterling fell against the US dollar immediately after Labour's comments and stood 0.5 percent down on the day.

In an interview with ITV's Peston, he said he was expecting Brussels to insist on a lengthy delay to Brexit but stressed that the Government wanted to ensure that any extension to the Article 50 process could be cut short if a deal was agreed by MPs.

Justice Minister Barley tweeted that "there can only be an extension with a clear direction", but also proposed a potential way out by adding: "This includes the question of a second referendum".

Yet May herself and many lawmakers in both main parties are strongly opposed, saying it would betray voters and undermine democracy, especially if it offered an option to stay in the EU.

The poll was released on the same as the result in the Newport West by-election was announced, with Labour retaining the House of Commons seat but the vote hinted at findings similar to those in the YouGov poll.

  • Joey Payne