Donald Tusk during a visit to Dublin last month. RollingNews.ie photo
By Irish Echo Staff
Another day, another twist in the Brexit saga.
But the days, and the twists, are running out.
Sign up to The Irish Echo Newsletter
British Prime Minister Theresa May has written to European Council president Donald Tusk requesting an extension to Article 50, the UK’s formal withdrawal process, until June 30.
May, according to reports, said she will seek to ratify her Withdrawal Agreement before the European Parliament elections on May 23, but will make “responsible preparations” to take part in those elections if that does not prove possible.
This would mean European elections in the UK including Northern Ireland, a vote that would not have occurred had the UK exited the EU on schedule on March 29, or does exit on the new Brexit date, April 12.
May’s effort to delay Brexit for a second time follows her deal with Brussels, reached last November, being rejected three times by the British parliament.
In her letter to Tusk, May wrote: “I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty.
“The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end on 30 June 2019. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.
“The Government will want to agree a timetable for ratification that allows the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union before 23 May 2019 and therefore cancel the European Parliament elections, but will continue to make responsible preparations to hold the elections should this not prove possible.”
Donald Tusk will now place May’s latest proposal before a summit of EU leaders, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar among them, to be held on Wednesday, May 10.
If May fails to secure a Last minute agreement to her deal – she is in talks with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in this regard – or the EU rejects her latest proposal, the UK will crash out of the European Union on Friday, April 12 in a so-called “Hard Brexit.”