Theresa May to meet Merkel and Macron in push for Brexit extension

Cheryl Sanders
April 9, 2019

May heads to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron and will be phoning other leaders before setting out the case for another delay at Wednesday's emergency European Union summit in Brussels.

Mrs May will also hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to try and bolster support for her request to delay Brexit until June 30.

Any compromise with Labour on customs arrangements or to allow a free vote on a second referendum is likely to further enrage Tory Brexiters, though some have turned their fire on the Eurosceptics who have held out from backing the prime minister's deal.

On Monday night, MPs and peers backed a new law to extend the Brexit process and cross-party talks are expected to continue in the hope of finding a compromise.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said European Union leaders would need assurances of "sincere co-operation" from London before granting an extension.

France has warned that the United Kingdom must provide a plan with "clear and credible political backing" in Westminster if it is to receive a further extension to the two-year Brexit process, which was initially meant to end on March 29.

"The Prime Minister is seeking a delay, that is what the House has pushed upon her and she'll be seeking a delay to 30 June".

May has tried to pass her deal four times - each being rejected by a large majority, meaning both those within and outside her Conservative party don't like the deal.

Remaining in a customs union with the EU is a nightmare scenario for many as it would leave the United Kingdom unable to negotiate independent trade deals and leave the country at the mercy of EU regulations and third country trade agreements with no say in forming them.

But in a video-message on Sunday, she said: "The longer this takes, the greater the risk of the United Kingdom never leaving at all".

In March, the European Union formalised new "assurances" on how the backstop would work, attaching two new documents to the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated by the EU's Michel Barnier and United Kingdom officials.

The default position for Britain, if parliament can't agree to a withdrawal agreement, is a no-deal Brexit.

If the United Kingdom is still a member of the EU on 23 May, it will have to take part in European Parliamentary elections.

Those talks began last week after Mrs May offered to talk to Mr Corbyn to find a way forward.

May needs Labour votes in parliament to get a deal approved.

"If the United Kingdom were to commit to remaining in the customs union, it would make a total and utter nonsense of the referendum result", said the former foreign secretary in his regular column in the Daily Telegraph.

The move came as the Government and Labour were holding talks on trying to break the Brexit deadlock.

"All they have done so far is to indicate various things but not to change the Political Declaration, so the ball is in the Government's court".

May will meet the two leaders on Tuesday, their offices announced on Monday, the day before the summit where she is expected to ask the bloc for another delay to Brexit. Hosting the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Dublin yesterday, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it was "extremely unlikely" an extension would be refused.

United Kingdom lawmakers finally approved a Brexit bill late Monday after weeks of failing to reach agreement on May's proposals or on any of the alternative models for leaving the EU.

Other reports by iNewsToday