Theresa May formally requests Brexit extension

Nine days before the United Kingdom is scheduled to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May has officially requested a postponement of Brexit until June 30.

The extension must be approved by the heads of the 27 nations remaining in the European Union,  and is due for discussion when they  meet on Thursday 21 March in Brussels.

Michel Barnier, the European Chief Negotiator for the UK leaving the EU, has said that the “EU Leaders will need a concrete plan from the UK” to fully consider the UK’s request for an extension.

“The European Council will need to assess what is in the best interest of the EU” Mr. Barnier said in a statement. “It is for the British Government and Parliament to decide very quickly what the UK wants to do next.”

Under the article 50 exit agreement, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29- with or without a deal in place. 

The postponement request comes after the Speaker of the House of Commons earlier in the week warned that the current Brexit agreement cannot be submitted for another ‘meaningful vote’ as it remains “substantially the same.”

Citing a convention dating back to 1604, Speaker John Bercow stated that a defeated motion could not be brought back unchanged for reconsideration during the course of a parliamentary session, something he believed “in all likelihood”  would require new terms agreed with the EU.

The Prime Minister has previously lost two Parliamentary votes on her Brexit agreement. The first was on January 15, with the 432-202 vote resulting in one of the largest government defeats in history.  The second was held on March 12 and was lost by a vote of 391 to 242.

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