UK's May asks European Union for Brexit delay, but France's Macron says ‘premature’

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As Britain's departure date of March 29 approached with no resolution in sight, the European Union gave Britain until Friday to approve a withdrawal plan, change course and seek a further delay to Brexit, or crash out of the European Union with no deal to cushion the shock.

The leaders of the EU's 27 remaining states have granted the United Kingdom until April 12 to depart the bloc or to come up with a new plan, following British lawmakers three occasions refused an agreement struck between the bloc and might late previous year.

In an about-face that left pro-Brexit members of May's Conservative Party howling with outrage, the prime minister sought to forge an agreement with left-wing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn after failing three times to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit deal.

But others say May has little choice but to change her long-held Brexit positions, after lawmakers rejected her deal and also repeatedly ruled out leaving the bloc without an agreement.

The government's team is now negotiating with leaders from Britain's main opposition Labour Party in a bid to find a compromise solution to London's political stalemate. It would mean letting the Brexit that the British people voted for slip through our fingers.

"The government doesn't seem to be moving off its original red lines", Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Her cross-party talks - after nearly three years of seeking to push through her own version of a Brexit divorce deal - came amid European Union warnings that a damaging withdrawal without a plan was growing more likely by the day.

We are at the point where Brexit is slipping away altogether.

Theresa May has been warned that accepting a lengthy delay to Brexit would be a "suicide note" for the Tory party.

May will point to Labour talks to unlock Brexit delay - spokesman
The Cooper/Letwin bill reduced the risk of a no deal Brexit substantially, and took power out of May's hands. Members of her own party are openly plotting her downfall.

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UBS Global Wealth Management said it foresees a long extension to Brexit, because it doubted May's attempt to build a cross-party consensus would succeed and expected the pound to remain volatile. The bloc says it will only agree to delay Brexit if Britain breaks its impasse and comes up with a new plan.

"It is frustrating that we have not yet brought this process to a successful and orderly conclusion", May wrote in her letter requesting a deadline extension to Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, which is comprised of the heads of states of EU members.

The Europeans would prefer that Britain not take part in the European Parliament elections if it is going to leave.

British MPs have rejected May's European Union divorce bill three times over the controversial Irish backstop clause and last week's talks between the two main parties were aimed at trying to find a proposal which could break the deadlock in the Commons before an emergency European Union summit on Wednesday.

While the government still intends for Britain to leave the EU in the next few months, it is also making plans to participate in European Parliament elections taking place across the bloc May 22-26.

Mrs May and the Labour leader are now in talks seeking to resolve the Commons impasse on Brexit.
"It could be unpicked by Boris Johnson if he takes over fro Theresa May later this year", Rennie said of any potential deal. Britain is now due to depart on April 12, but many observers doubt that May will be able to secure backing for her withdrawal deal by then.

An extension requires unanimous approval from the 27 remaining national leaders, some of whom are fed up with Brexit uncertainty and reluctant to prolong it further.

Her decision to open talks with Labour infuriated Brexit supporters in May's Conservative party and divided her cabinet.

A request for an extension, if May makes one, would have to be backed by sound arguments why the European Union should grant it, officials said. May to move her Brexit red lines. The Labour Party said in a statement Friday it is "disappointed" that May's team is not offering real change.

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