Prime Minister Theresa May requested a three-month delay to Brexit on Wednesday after her failure to get a deal ratified by parliament left the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union in turmoil.
Theresa May threatened to resign as Prime Minister if MPs demand a longer postponement. Her stance increased the risk of the country crashing out accidentally on no-deal terms.
Nearly three years the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union and nine days before the formal exit deadline, British politicians are still arguing over how, when or even if the world’s fifth largest economy should leave the bloc it first joined 1973.
When May set the March 29 exit date two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, she declared there would be “no turning back” but parliament’s refusal to ratify the withdrawal deal she agreed with the EU has thrust her government into crisis.
Now, May has written to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay until June 30.
“As prime minister I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than the 30th of June,” May told a rowdy session of parliament.
“I have therefore this morning written to President Tusk, the president of the European Council, informing him that the UK seeks an extension to the article 50 period until the 30th June,” she said.
She said she planned to ask parliament to vote a third time on her departure deal, which lawmakers have already voted down twice. She didn’t say when the vote would happen.
The opposition Labour Party said that by choosing a short delay May was forcing British lawmakers to decide between accepting a deal they have already rejected twice or crashing out of the European Union without a deal.
Pro-Brexit members of May’s Conservative Party are opposed to a longer delay because they fear this could mean that Brexit might never happen.