22 May 2019

Theresa May to seek further Brexit delay

KONFRONTASI-The United Kingdom will seek a further delay to the process of leaving the European Union to expire once parliament agrees on a deal, Theresa May announced on Tuesday.

The British Prime Minister spoke to reporters following a marathon seven-hour cabinet meeting to try and find a solution to the political impasse over Brexit.

"We will need a further extension of Article 50, one that is as short as possible and which ends when we pass a deal. And we need to be clear what such an extension is for, to ensure we leave in a timely and orderly way," May said in a televised statement.

The UK is set to leave European bloc on April 12 without a deal, unless the government can agree an extension with EU leaders.

May said that, while she believed a no-deal scenario could be made a success of in the long run, it would be better to leave the EU with a deal in place and in order to do this, she would seek an extension.

She said that any plan would need to involve passing her withdrawal agreement, which has so far failed three times to pass through parliament.

May also offered to sit down with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a deal both parties could agree on.

"Today I am taking action to break the logjam. I am offering to sit down with the leader of the opposition and to try to agree a plan that we would both stick to ensure that we leave the European Union and that we do so with a deal," she said.

If the two can agree on a deal, it will be voted on by MPs before a European Council summit scheduled for April 10.

May has said that should she and Corbyn not be able to reach an agreement, she would allow MPs to vote to say which way they would like the Brexit negotiations to continue. May pledged to respect the will of parliament should such a vote occur.

Taking back control?

May's announcement came after a cross-party group of 12 MPs, led by Labour's Yvette Cooper, said they will try to pass a law that would force May to seek a delay to Brexit in order to prevent a potentially chaotic no-deal exit on April 12.

Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan, reporting from outside 10 Downing Street, May's official residence, said that with Tuesday's announcement, May has taken back control of the Brexit process.

"You could say that she [May] has almost jumped before she was pushed because the MPs were adamant that they were going to put this motion in front of the parliament on Wednesday in order to seize control again and essentially compel the prime minister to go back to Brussels and ask for an extension. What she's done by announcing this is to seize back control of the process," he said.

The other 27 EU member states must agree to any further delay to the Brexit negotiating period and have said that the UK would need to provide a suitable reason for such a delay.

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