UK’s Leadsom says Brexit “absolutely essential” before EU parliament election

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Britain’s leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will seek a short delay to its departure from the European Union, due on March 29, and wants to be out before European Parliament elections are due to be held in late May, parliamentary leader Andrea Leadsom said on Wednesday.

Leadsom, a member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s team of senior ministers, acknowledged that it was up to the European Union to decide what, if any, delay it would allow to Britain’s departure, but said she did not want a long one.

“It is absolutely essential we are out of the EU before the EU elections. It would be extraordinary for the people who voted to leave the EU to find us fielding candidates for these next elections,” she told British radio broadcaster LBC.

Reporting by Alistair Smout, writing by David Milliken. Editing by Andrew MacAskill

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