European Union Offers to Extend Brexit Until Oct. 31

PM meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel: 9 April 2019

However Mrs Merkel, who met Mrs May in Berlin on Tuesday ahead of the Brussels summit, suggested they "may well" go for a longer delay, although the United Kingdom would be allowed to leave "very quickly" if Parliament approves a withdrawal deal.

Leaders of the 27 remaining European Union member states met for more than six hours before agreeing to postpone Brexit until October 31, two officials said.

The UK has also started preparations to hold European elections on May 23, which was an EU precondition for any extension beyond 12 April.

Theresa May meets the leaders of the remaining European Union 27 later on Wednesday to press her case for a further extension to the Article 50 withdrawal process to June 30 to allow her more time to get a deal through Parliament.

Some EU leaders were sympathetic, but French President Emmanuel Macron struck a warning note.

The former Ukip leader said he wants to end the two-party structure and "shift the centre of gravity" in Britain.

Earlier on Wednesday, Macron had tweeted: "What is essential: nothing to compromise the European project".

But British MPs have rejected her divorce deal three times, and attempts to forge a compromise with her political opponents have yet to bear fruit.

But as May prepared to lay out her plan to her 27 colleagues, other officials suggested they would indeed be open to pushing back Brexit for several months if Britain undertakes to hold European elections in late May. In contrast to some testy recent summits, there were signs of warmth and even humor.

It follows May's whistle-stop tour on Tuesday of European capitals for talks with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Mr Farage officially launches his Brexit Party in Coventry on Friday.

Britain, he stressed, could still leave earlier if May secures parliamentary backing for her Brexit treaty, or it could amend what it wants from a future trade pact.

Without a postponement, Britain would have ended its 46-year membership of the European Union at midnight on Friday with no deal, risking economic chaos on both sides of the Channel.

"The question isn't whether there will be an extension but for how long and under what conditions", a senior diplomat said.

"The duration of an extension - it has got to be in line with the goal of any such extension", Barnier told a news conference on Tuesday. "But we will organise this extension such that when Britain has passed the Withdrawal Agreement, Britain can very quickly thereafter execute the exit in an orderly fashion", Merkel said.

Despite sitting as a Tory MP for nearly 20 years, he wants to see the party "annihilated" if those elections take place next month.

Conversations between May's government and the opposition Labour Party are presently not close to breaking the Brexit deadlock, according to John McDonnell, a Labour Party politician. May has said she will need until June 30 to ratify the withdrawal agreement. The two sides said they would resume their discussions Thursday.

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