EU Creates New Cliff-Edge as Wrangling Over Brexit Delay Begins

British PM May walks outside Downing Street in London

Protesters plan to set out Saturday from Sunderland, which is 270 miles (434 kilometers) north of London that voted by 61-39 percent in 2016 to leave the EU. They wanted a series of different Brexit options (soft Brexit, hard Brexit etc.) to be put before MPs in what's known as "indicative votes". The full complement of presidents and prime ministers have not formally discussed this option together, and with populist Euroskeptics expected to make big gains in May's European Parliament elections, some leaders are anxious that Brexit could continue to "pollute" the EU agenda.

If the deal is rejected by MPs again, Mrs May has warned that the EU is likely to only accept a longer delay, which would mean the United Kingdom would need to send new MEPs back to the European Parliament. They are likely to agree to an extension as long as there was a prospect of a deal being reached - or a referendum or general election which could change the political landscape at Westminster. After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the European Union, the final outcome is still uncertain with options including a long delay, exiting with May's deal, a disorderly exit without a deal or even another referendum.

In essence, Mrs May has handed Brexit supporters an ultimatum - ratify her deal by March 20 or face a delay to Brexit way beyond June 30 that would open up the possibility that the entire divorce could be ultimately thwarted.

Brussels has begun preparations for a possible delay to Brexit beyond the current 29 March deadline after MPs backed an extension to the Article 50 process.

He also confirmed that the Labour leadership would be backing an amendment by two of his party's MPs, Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, that could allow Theresa May's deal or any deal for that matter, to go through as long as there was a referendum at the end of it. They didn't believe and neither would I have believed - having got warm words from people in authority "we will do this", and remember the 100-plus times "we will be out on 29 March" - absolutely not.

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May is expected to again submit the withdrawal deal to lawmakers next week, though it has already been rejected twice.

But so far the number of Tories publicly switching positions has amounted to a trickle rather than the flood the Prime Minister needs to overturn the 149-vote defeat for the deal she suffered on Tuesday.

The EU will terminate Britain's membership of the bloc on 1 July if the country does not take part in the European elections scheduled for 23-26 May, according to a document seen by the Financial Times.

The French ambassador raised his concerns about the UK's role in the European Union during the extension, and explicitly voiced Paris's doubts about the realism of a 21-month extension given that problem. "We should not run that risk", he told the EU's member states on Friday evening.

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