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May faces MPs as EU deal delays Brexit until Halloween

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Theresa May is facing British politicians after the EU offered the UK a six-month Brexit delay, pushing the withdrawal date to Halloween.

The British Prime Minister is making a statement to the House of Commons today following the second extension to the Brexit process, which definitively stopped the clock on a no-deal withdrawal happening on Friday.

The six-month extension to October 31 was a compromise solution thrashed out by EU leaders after French President Emmanuel Macron dug-in against a longer delay lasting into 2020.

The deal has drawn sharp criticism from Tory Eurosceptics and prompted questions about how long Mrs May can stay in power.

Mrs May told an early morning press conference that she still wanted the UK to leave the EU “as soon as possible”.

If a withdrawal deal could be ratified within the first three weeks of May, the UK could still avoid participation in that month’s European Parliament elections and leave the EU in June, she said.

Acknowledging “huge frustration” among voters that the UK has not yet left the EU, she said: “The choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear.

“So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach a consensus on a deal that is in the national interest.”

European Council president Donald Tusk did not rule out further extensions beyond October.

And he sent a message to the UK: “This extension is as flexible as I expected, and a little bit shorter than I expected, but it’s still enough to find the best possible solution.

“Please do not waste this time.”

Former British Brexit secretary David Davis insisted that no progress had been made in Brussels and that pressure on Mrs May to quit as PM will increase, telling the BBC: “I think what is likely to happen is the pressure for her to go will go up.

“The pressure on her to go will increase dramatically, I suspect, now.”

Leading Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised the latest delay after the UK was originally scheduled to quit the bloc on March 29 and said there is “some symbolism” in the new Halloween Brexit date.

He said: “I thought the Prime Minister said a few weeks ago that she wouldn’t agree to any extension and now we are getting quite a long one.


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