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U.K.’s May seeks 3-month delay on Brexit

U.K.’s May seeks 3-month delay on Brexit
Theresa May [Photo: Arno Mikkor/EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/Flickr]

United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union for a three-month Brexit extension. If approved, the U.K. wouldn’t leave the European bloc before June 30, the BBC reports.

May says she won’t try to postpone the country’s departure beyond that; so far Parliament has been unable to agree to a deal on the U.K.’s future relationship with the EU. John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, said this week May can’t simply ask Parliament to vote again on her deal without some sort of changes. The legislature has also indicated it doesn’t want to see a so-called “no deal” Brexit, which experts say could cause immediate tariffs, as well as delays for people and goods moving between the EU and U.K.

Further complicating matters is the fact that EU member countries are due to vote on their representatives to European Parliament by late May. Thus, the U.K. may need to hold an election for those posts, only to leave the body a few weeks later.

May has drawn criticism from both advocates of Brexit who say she’s not moving fast enough and those who either want to stay in the EU or another referendum on the matter.

Meanwhile it’s not clear how the EU will react to the U.K. request. While the U.K. can unilaterally reverse course on Brexit and stay in the EU, it can’t delay the process without the consent of the other EU countries. May is set to meet with other EU leaders this week in Brussels–although The Guardian reports European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has cautioned there might not be a decision on the delay until next week.

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