British PM May to request short delay to Brexit

UK

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a short delay to Brexit in a letter to the European Union on Wednesday, the BBC and Sky reported on Wednesday.

The delay, nearly three years since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, leaves the Brexit divorce uncertain with options including leaving with May’s deal, a longer delay, a disruptive exit, or even another referendum.

Just 9 days before the March 29 exit date that May set two years ago by serving the formal Article 50 divorce papers, May is due to write to European Council President Donald Tusk to ask for a delay.

But the ultimate length of the delay was unclear amid the political chaos in London, with the BBC reporting that May would not ask for a long delay. A spokeswoman in May’s Downing Street office did not immediately comment on the reports.

The divorce deal May agreed with the EU in November has been defeated twice by parliament though May hopes to put the deal to another vote, possibly as early as next week.

May has warned that if parliament did not ratify her deal, she would ask to delay beyond June 30, a step that Brexit’s advocates fear would endanger the entire divorce.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Kate Holton and Alistair Smout

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