UK’s May asks a wary EU to delay Brexit until June 30
LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the European Union on Wednesday to postpone Britain’s departure from the bloc — due in nine days — until June 30.
But an exasperated EU said Britain would have to accept either a shorter delay or a much longer one.
In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, May said the Brexit process “clearly will not be completed before 29 March, 2019” — the date fixed in law two years ago for Britain’s departure.
She asked for a delay until June 30, and said she wanted to set out her reasons to EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.
Opposition politicians, and pro-EU members of May’s Conservative government, had urged a longer extension, saying a delay of just a few months could leave Britain once again facing a cliff-edge “no-deal” Brexit this summer.
Withdrawing without a deal could mean huge disruption for businesses and people in the U.K. and the 27 remaining EU countries.
But a long extension would infuriate the pro-Brexit wing of May’s divided party, and would require Britain to participate in May 23-26 elections for the European Parliament.
May said that would be unacceptable.