UK’s May asks a wary EU to delay Brexit until June 30
LONDON (AP) — Exactly 1,000 days after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and nine days before it is scheduled to walk out the door, Prime Minister Theresa May hit the pause button Wednesday, asking the bloc to postpone the U.K.’s departure until June 30.
EU leaders, who are exasperated by Britain’s Brexit melodrama, will only grant the extension if May can win the U.K. Parliament’s approval next week for her twice-rejected Brexit deal. Otherwise, the U.K. is facing a chaotic “no-deal” departure from the bloc within days, or a much longer delay that May says she will not allow while she is in power.
May, who has spent two and a half years trying to lead Britain out of the EU, said it was “a matter of great personal regret” that she had to seek a delay to Brexit.
In a televised statement from 10 Downing St., May said she shared the frustration felt by many Britons who have “had enough” of endless Brexit debates and infighting — though she did not accept a role in causing it. Instead, she blamed Parliament for the deadlock, and warned that if lawmakers did not back her deal it would cause “irreparable damage to public trust.”
“It is high time we made a decision,” May said.
In a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, May acknowledged that the Brexit process “clearly will not be completed before 29 March, 2019” — the date fixed in law two years ago for Britain’s departure.