Leadsom calls on Merkel to reopen Brexit withdrawal deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, April 9, 2019.

Several EU diplomats said the 12-month extension proposed by European Council president Donald Tusk, who will chair the summit on Wednesday, was unlikely to fly and several member states had agreed with France it would be too long.

Several days of talks between May's Conservative government and the main opposition Labour Party tried to find a compromise Brexit deal have failed to produce a breakthrough. Those negotiations are ongoing.

Roth's statement was seconded by both Dutch and French officials, who said May must present a clear reason as to why the European Union should accept a further delay, and a plan for going forward.

With a chaotic exit of Britain from the European Union potentially only days away, EU commissioner Phil Hogan says that the United Kingdom leaving the bloc without a deal in place "is simply insane".

European Union leaders, worn out by the three-year Brexit crisis, have repeatedly refused to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement which May agreed in November, though on Tuesday there was speculation in London that Merkel might be open to doing just that.

He called for the European Council to discuss an alternative, longer extension, such as a "flexible extension" lasting "as long as necessary and no longer than one year".

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Mrs May will report back to MPs on the Brussels summit and seek approval for a revised extension date.

"Finally, if we failed to agree on any next extension, there would be a risk of an accidental no-deal Brexit". May sent a letter to Tusk last week requesting a further extension of the Brexit period, until 30 June 2019.

Theresa May has been in Berlin to beg Angela Merkel for a short delay to Brexit - but the 27 European Union member nations are set to impose a year-long extension with heavy restrictions including a "Boris-proof" clause.

Having raised doubts about whether an extension would be granted last week, meaning that Britain could crash out of the bloc without a deal, an aide to the French president underlined Tuesday that France was open to solutions. The preference in Europe is for a longer extension, either until the end of this year or until the end of March next year. Legislation offered by Members of Parliament (MPs) Yvette Cooper and Oliver Letwin (EU Withdrawal No. 5 Act) has now been passed into law; it requires the Prime Minister to pass a motion to extend Article 50 to a date specified in the bill.

With further talks scheduled on Tuesday between his team and government ministers, Corbyn said that "the prime minister has not yet moved off her red lines so we can reach a compromise".

If Britain's exit is delayed beyond May 22, the EU has said it will have to take part in European Parliament elections.

The ruling Prime Minister of the UK, Theresa May, recently joined hands with the opposition Labour party in order to break the Brexit deadlock.

  • Darren Santiago