European leaders piled the pressure on British MPs on Thursday to back a divorce deal they have negotiated with Prime Minister Theresa May, warning that the alternative was a cliff-edge exit from the EU next week. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said the commission would likely grant an extension - but only if British parliament votes in support of May's proposed deal next week.
May had requested a short delay until June 30 to allow time for the ratification of her deal if it approved, but European leaders decided they did not want Brexit concerns to linger into the election campaign. If she manages to get enough support for her draft Withdrawal Agreement to win a so-called "meaningful vote" this deadline will then be extended to 22 May to provide the time to pass any legislation needed to enshrine the deal into United Kingdom law.
According to a European official that hard deadline would be midnight Brussels time on April 12 but Macron said this was not "necessarily" the case and a later date for no-deal Brexit could be agreed. "A [second Brexit referendum] may not happen-so vote now".
Britain would need time to legislate to take part in the May 23 to 26 election, and May has insisted it will not try, preferring in her words "to honour" voters' decision to end London's 46-year-old membership.
"Mrs May will resign before April 12 and, before April 12, an interim leader of the Conservative Party - I suppose it would be David Lidington, the deputy prime minister will say he will want to explore with the European Union an alternative".
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The U.K. was poised to make a "no deal" Brexit on March 29, an outcome that would threaten such wrenching economic chaos that the nation's citizens and military had been stockpiling food, medicine, and fuel in recent weeks to prepare for the coming storm.
"The government has been far too willing to capitulate", Nigel Dodds, the DUP's leader in the British parliament, said in a statement, adding that "nothing has changed as far as the withdrawal agreement is concerned".
European Union leaders have agreed to delay the departure date by at least two weeks.
As yet no date has been scheduled for a third meaningful vote on the Government's Brexit deal, which has been defeated twice by margins of 230 and 149.
More than 10,000 people in the north-east have signed a petition calling for Article 50 to be revoked.
22 May: If MPs do approve the deal next week, Brexit will be delayed until this date.